A “desire line” is an architectural term for the informal paths that pedestrians create through open grassland. What these lines represent are the shortest or most navigable routes between an origin and a destination. Ruini Shi’s film uses this idea in the context of Artificial Intelligence: a bot generates optimal solutions to user problems, its alculations operating as a form of desire line. The animated film aims to interrogate the increasingly controversial role of AI in human life. Set in the near future, the film visualizes a bot’s experiences of Valentine’s Day.


Ruini Shi is animation director and interaction designer based in London. By combining film language and technological aesthetics, her work explores virtual intimacy and creates narratives that interrogate the compatibility between humanity and emerging technologies. She is currently undertaking a PhD after graduating from the Royal College of Art Animation program in 2018. Her first film Strings won the Award of Distinction at Prix Ars Electronica 2019. Her graduation film Desire Line has been selected for numerous festivals worldwide including Animafest Zagreb, Royal Television Society Award, Transmediale, the Lumen Prize; She was nominated for the 2019 Rapoport Award for Women in Art and Technology.