I was very slow at speaking when I was young. Most times conversations had moved to the next topic before words finally got to my mouth. And what’s worse, no matter how hard I tried I’m always very bad at remembering others’ names and faces while I have impressively good memories of everything else, which made conversations even harder for me.
So unlike other kids playing and interacting with each other, I spent most of my childhood painting at different places, sitting for hours and drawing people at hair salons, garages and temples. I was kind of forced to do that practice in the beginning and didn’t enjoy it that much. However, it did teach me how to observe the world, how people are different and have their own different stories. And gradually, it did help me find my own way interacting with others, through those paintings. It helped me build a connection with my “models” . I probably wouldn’t have had chance to have those conversations with barbers, motor mechanics and monks at that age. I also get free haircut, free bike repair, free access to the temple and free apples from them. To me, it’s also like an exchange of skills.
Now as an interactive/experience designer at EdLab, I put my effort to make art and design not only a bridge for myself to connect with others but most importantly, to provide platforms for people to connect with each other, tools to share/exchange ideas, skills and knowledge, and experiences that are accessible to everyone. I’m also trying to bring emerging technologies and various kinds of media into the projects to explore more possibilities of interaction for different audiences.
Carlie Yutong Zhang (1993) is an interdisciplinary artist and designer who is interested in the freedom of human imagination and the beauty of unuselessness. Aiming to break through stereotypes and explore alternative realities, Carlie asks questions about our current human interactions and seeks different possible roles of the audiences in her artistic practices. Her works include various kinds of media and form, such as physical installations, video, sound, and performance. It is her faith that art and design should be multi-level experiences for everyone.