Billy Ho

Billy Ho(he/him) is a Creative Technologist and Designer who works at the intersection of Art, Research, and Commercial Technology. His works aim to evoke Introspection and Empathy for both humans and machines.

Billy holds a BFA in Industrial Design from Shih Chien University and an MFA Design and technology from Parsons School of Design. Click here︎︎︎ to view Résumé.


2020 Spring
Upstream is a series of generative visuals rendered with public available tweets during 2020 quarantine, representing the fluid nature of modern identity as language, space and protocol.
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Inspired by resurgence of interest in cybernetics, the research phase looked into the following three domains:

:/ Fluidity and fragmentation potential of human identity

:/ Paralleled existences of metaphors within machine protocols and human languages.

On metaphors

The early developments of computation centered on the idea of recreating virtual representation of the physical world, the idea of metaphors became ubiquitous ever since then. Because of that, text became the cornerstone of virtual worlds.

“Computer is a machine that can imitate, and thus substitute for, all others based on its programming.”

- Wendy Hui Kyong Chun

Collective zeitgeist

Later in the 80s when computation made its way into pop culture and sci-fi literatures, the idea of the physical world being built like a computer program and consisted of codes/text gained a lot of attention. Making the very concept of metaphor works both ways as a loop.

On solidarity and immediacy

When text became a prominent element of both worlds, the existence of modern social media after Web2.0 accelerated the process of identity fragmentation. People can now be broken down to things they follow, catchphrases they use in DMs, etc. The hosting platforms flattens the discourses, presenting a homogenized reality, blurring the line between of different individuals.


The prototypes kicked off with the following image attempting to recreate a virtual space with just texts.


The following iterations all involved with public tweets as rendering materials and focus on the shape of the self.

The image served as a snapshot of ones peripheral surrounding, which I decided to go off from here and test with different renditions to create the visual language of identity.

“The certainty that everything has already been written annuls us, or renders us phantasmal.”

- Jorge Luis Borges

Inspired by Jorge Luis Borges, as eloquently put in what is most prominent fictional writing about the nature of information, language stood out.

Body as language

We are languages, like the library in Borges’s story, people don’t create words, we discover them, and all that we know are through metaphors, to echo Mcluhan, when we are languages, we can me broken down into words, alphabets, ultimately reshape with others, merge with the surroundings. Body as language is in itself a phantasm.


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