Interview with Yidi Wang

You could say I am a feminist; You could say I am a cyborg; You could say I am a post-human. I am an observer of encounters of female body in different eras and social contexts. Motherhood, parenthood, sex and gender are the hack way of me to have conversations with the audiences.

Born: China
Now: Chicago, United States | @yidiwangart


It is exciting that in your background, there is an education in the Industrial Design and Design for Emerging Technology field. Do you think this knowledge makes your projects so unique and “fresh”? After all, you are moving away from the traditional approach of using ready-made materials, and, in fact, in recent projects, you are growing or creating new/alternative ones.

While my background in Industrial Design may not inherently make my project uniquely special, it undeniably exerts a profound influence on my fine art creation. The design methods I have acquired over time have evolved into powerful tools for my artistic practice. At the core of my work lies a meticulous adherence to conceptual design logic. Instead of focusing solely on the craftsmanship of objects, I prioritize the embodiment of abstract ideas. This distinctive approach, rooted in a designer’s perspective, sets me apart from artists with a more traditional artistic background, and contributes to the potential uniqueness of my work. In essence, my works tend to lean towards speculative design, where the form and appearance of objects serve as vehicles for conveying conceptual depth. As a result, my art transcends prescribed forms and presentation modes, allowing for a more fluid and open-ended interpretation. Furthermore, my design background leads me to initiate the exploration of my artworks’ forms through 3D models. These models act as the initial drafts from which the majority of my works are derived and developed.

As a result, my art transcends prescribed forms and presentation modes, allowing for a more fluid and open-ended interpretation.

Furthermore, my design background leads me to initiate the exploration of my artworks’ forms through 3D models. These models act as the initial drafts from which the majority of my works are derived and developed.

Let’s talk about your “Post-Birth Project”. How did you get the idea to work on it? Why did you decide to implement it?

The inspiration for my entire project actually originated from the introduction of the abortion law in 2022. In many ways, it serves as a feminist-oriented starting point. The majority of my artworks are intricately linked to feminism, and this connection arises from my own cultural background. While misogyny is a prevalent issue worldwide, it is particularly pronounced in Asian societies. Growing up in such an environment , I have developed a profound interest in feminist topics.

However, instead of presenting my perspective through a forceful statement, I have chosen to portray a utopian world—the post-human world. This artistic approach aims to stimulate discussions among individuals from diverse backgrounds and viewpoints. I believe that fostering discussions and capturing the attention of audiences with varying perspectives is more significant than seeking their agreement with my viewpoint. Moreover, it is essential to note that the post-human concept encompasses not only feminist themes but also signifies a broader decolonization movement. It symbolizes the embodiment of all “others” such as race, ethnicity, and gender.

Is “My babies are non human creatures” a continuation of the “Post-Birth Project”? And an extended version of the discourse on the rights of unusual life forms?

“Post-Birth” represents both a continuation and an integral component of a larger framework. It serves as a significant structure encompassing a diverse range of discussions. The term “Post” symbolizes the post-human concept, with the entire project revolving around post-human themes. Conversely, “Birth” signifies the emergence of new life forms, aligning with the embodiment of the post-human concept. My objective is to construct a comprehensive narrative structure comprising interconnected chapters. Within this framework, one pivotal section delves into the intricate relationship between humans and non-human entities.

“My baby is not human” adds layers of complexity and ambivalence to this relationship. This is because all the “babies” featured in this project are generated by artificial intelligence. Despite my efforts to forge a mother-child relationship with these non-human creatures, they remain products of AI. By highlighting this contradiction, I aim to provoke stimulating discussions and foster a deeper exploration of these themes.

Art installation – My Babies are Non Human Creatures

By the way, how did moving from China to the USA affect you? After all, you started your art path at home. Has there been a transformation of thinking, and has the vector of your work changed?

Coming to the United States was a transformative milestone in my artistic journey. As a designer with limited exposure to fine arts, my focus had been primarily on creating user-centered products and service systems. However, my upbringing and cultural background heightened my awareness of misogyny, igniting a strong desire to explore these themes through the medium of art.

The pivotal moment occurred during my time at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago when I discovered the power of performance art. It opened my eyes to the potential of using my own body as a medium for self-expression, leading my artwork to evolve into its current form. This revelation has been instrumental in shaping my artistic direction.

Since then, my encounters with diverse cultural backgrounds have further solidified my commitment to addressing thought-provoking subjects and fostering meaningful discussions through my art. I aspire to challenge norms, provoke introspection, and stimulate dialogue among viewers through my artistic expressions.

You have a lot of experience as a teacher’s assistant. Do you plan to teach in the future? Or does this experience open up another facet of knowledge for you and positively influence your art practice?

Becoming a teacher was not originally part of my plan. As a teaching assistant, my primary goal was to engage with a variety of professors and peers from diverse backgrounds, learning from their unique knowledge and skills. Many of the professors I worked with were independent artists, and being a teaching assistant allowed me to observe and understand their approach to integrating art and work. Moreover, it provided me with valuable opportunities to discuss art projects with fellow peers and artists, fostering insightful conversations and exchange of ideas. Through this role, I gained invaluable advice and experiences that have significantly influenced and enriched my own artistic journey.

My Babies are Non Human Creatures – pregnancy post human incubator

Usually, we ask our heroes for advice for beginners. In your case, I would like to know what direction of thinking you need to have to be yourself and create projects that excite you?

What matters to me is preserving space for discussion, as the ancient Chinese saying goes, “leaving white.”

My artworks are inspired by my own identity and cultural background, but what truly matters is not just conveying my own thoughts. I aspire for the audience to actively participate in the discourse.

In this process, my entire project becomes an open frame, inviting a multitude of interpretations from a diverse audience. I strive to create an environment where everyone feels compelled to join the conversation.
Although “I” serve as the starting point for my project, during its presentation, I aim to retreat into the background, allowing ample room for discussion. This, in my eyes, defines the essence of a project that excites me—shifting the focus from the self to fostering an inclusive space for dialogue and exploration.

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