‘There is no such thing as offline anymore.’
Born 1985, Shanghai. Lives and works between Shanghai and New York.
Miao Ying says she lives ‘on the internet, behind the Great Firewall’. Born in Shanghai, Miao Ying was awarded her MFA in Electronic Integrated Arts from the School of Art and Design at Alfred University following her BFA in New Media Arts from China Academy of Fine Arts. She creates work using the abundance of online information available in China—and, in particular, from the limited space of the restricted Chinese internet. Miao’s work focuses on the internet as concept, content and platform – she is fascinated by the highly controlled online world inhabited by Chinese ‘netizens’ behind the Great Firewall. Despite surveillance and tight censorship the ‘Chinternet’ is a highly energetic, playful space in which the fast-paced invention of clever GIFs, memes and Wechat stickers. At the centre of Problematic GIFs – No Problem At All (2016) is a blank screen, signifying blocked content. This absence is surrounded by ‘applause’ GIFs from the Chinese social media app, WeChat. Is Miao glorifying the gaudy amateur aesthetics and creative energy of the Chinese internet, or critiquing state censorship of online communication? She likens her own relationship with the tightly controlled online world behind the Great Firewall to a form of ‘Stockholm Syndrome’, in which kidnap victims fall in love with their captors.