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Experimental Communication

Can Yang

Can Yang (b.1994) is a multidisciplinary artist and graphic designer working with a variety of media to create context-aware graphics and imagery installations.

During her studies at the RCA, she expanded her interest in the study of images, seeking to understand the ubiquitous phenomenon of anaesthetising use of over-saturated images in media. This research aims to rediscover the functionality of two-dimensional flat images by seeing the distinction between representations and what meaning the create.

Besides her individual research, Can also demonstrates her model of practice, Neobridge, through pedagogical methodologies, i.e collaborative activities, workshops and open-ended conversations.

Her previous education includes BA Graphic Design from Rhode Island School of Design (2018).

Exhibitions and activities:

2021 Terminal—RCA2021 Satellite Event (exhibitor), Ugly Duck, London

2021 Penrose Helix, (graphics & publication design), Generation & Display, London

2020 Loops Fugitive Voices Group Exhibition (VI designer & exhibitor), London

2019 Nike On Air Studio x Hypebeast (lecturer), Shanghai

2019 Shenzhen University Visual Communication Grad Show (guest critic & guest lecturer), Shenzhen

2019 Be There Design Festival (exhibitor), Hong Kong 

2019 China Design Exhibition (exhibitor), China 

2019 Singularity Art Festival (exhibitor), Chengdu, Shenzhen

2018, 2019 UNFOLD Book Fair (exhibitor and guest lecturer), Shanghai

2018 Energizing The Future Expo 2017 Astana Exhibition (exhibitor), Shanghai

2018 Rhode Island School of Design Graduation Exhibition (exhibitor), Providence

2018 ‘XXXI’ Poster Project at Twentynine Gallery (exhibitor), New York

2018 Art Book in China (abC Art Book Fair) (exhibitor & guest lecturer), Shanghai

2018 Publication Nice to Meet You with Draw Down Books, USA

2017 Odds & Ends Book Fair (exhibitor), Yale


Rhode Island School of Design, Honours Degree

It’s Nice That-The Graduates Award 2018

A-Level Art and Design Top in the World 2014

My research is a constellation of images, texts, processes and folded memories.

Dense like the clusters of messages and images we receive, resend and relink everyday, each JPG is a temporary ‘space capsule’ based on multiple revisions and reformats throughout my journey.

Imagine the digital objects and images are the complex surfaces in a compressed garbage cube. A huge percentage of the surfaces that used to be the outermost visible layer (i.e. packaging) is now inadvertently spam, waiting to be compressed, crushed and zipped into deep space.

By re-simulating, regenerating and recreating images in digital tools, in this virtual world there is more simulation than reality. 

Walking away from the modernist sense of celebrating function, rationality and cultivated austerity, post-internet art and new media theories posit a radical indeterminacy, as the ideas of truth, meaning and coherence are highly contested.

In the Sprit of Flaked Rhizome 01.jpg — In the Sprit of Flaked Rhizome overview.
In the Sprit of Flaked Rhizome 02.jpg — Tian*Yuan*Di*Fang (Round Sky Square Earth), audiovisual installation, 2’01”, mixed media. The Neophyte Chorus, audiovisual installation. 1’10”
In the Sprit of Flaked Rhizome 03.jpg — Hi-How-Are-You-Good-And-You, audiovisual installation, 3’55” My Abesence, moving image, 1’24”
In the Sprit of Flaked Rhizome 04.jpg — The Personal History of Ravi Leznacszyk, acrylic on furnitures, shared document, voice memos, mixed media.
In the Sprit of Flaked Rhizome 05.jpg — (51.5041154, -0.2275780), moving image, 2’19” Discontinuous Grain in the Sea of Continuous Field, moving image, 1’46”
In the Sprit of Flaked Rhizome 06.jpg — Printing Mechanism, I&II, Digital scan/photograph/3D-rendering 3000×3000 pixels @300ppi What is Flatness 3D-scan/3D-modeling 1920×1080 pixels @300ppi Panorama process Digital scan/photograph 6000×3000 pixels @300ppi Virtual Materiality, I&II Automated image from 3D-scan 3000×3000 pixels @300ppi

The post-modernist idea of deconstruction and reformation appear in most of my works. By reassessing the specificity and transformations across media, my idea is to grow complexities through enhancing the vividness and richness of layers and meaning outside of the grand narratives.

Digital media emerge as the apparent endpoint of an accelerating dematerialism. Most of the discussions about art in the digital age have affirmed that there is a progressive decay of aura in the process of reproduction and recreation of the original work (Walter Benjamin, 1935). However, there is also a variety of reasons beyond staging of criticism to work in the field of digital medium: the special feature of fusing time and space, past and future, self and audience presents a ‘fugitiveness’ that refuses the categorical and totalising inscription.

Based on theoretical research and practical experiments, I started to form a series of experimental works, questioning this doctrine. 




Lichenoid Process 01.jpg — Lichenoid process overview.
Lichenoid Process 01.jpg — Lichenoid process sketches and material archive.
Lichenoid Process 03.jpg — Extraordinary Beings, Endless Becomings, material study and transformation between different medium.
Lichenoid Process 04.jpg — The Digitalised Flux & The Raw pool, multi-devices video installation, 2’30”

"We are all lichens now!" (Scott Gilbert) And according to Donna Haraway, symbiosis is particular mode of "being-" and "becoming-with." Within and beyond the field biosocialogy, a lichenoid concept would deepen our understanding of human nature and our relationships to the complex visible and invisible collectives in ancient myths and speculative imagination. How do we conceptualise plural beings and trace the clues of inevitable transformation through conceptualising, assembling and modelling? 

The sculptural installation is developed as an assemblage of beings, in 3-dimensional form of images and signs. Its narrative explores myths, science fiction imagination and futurological uncertainty. Each sculptural system reflects a proposition for non-human-centred model with no single narrative and no single truth.




Neobridge 01.jpg — The Bridge (Based on my dissertation Rama Setu: The Bridge Across Ancient Ruin and Post-historic Digital Era, moving image, 5:00" The dissertation questions the reality beyond the representations of Rama Setu, either it is a spiritual symbol in the myths, broadcasting televised image in drama series, or a scientific satellite image? It discusses the old structure of information transmission, the materiality of new media, the value re-evaluation of system and how do we perceive the new model of Neobridge.
Neobridge 02.jpg — Neobridge Model research archive.
Neobridge 03.jpg — Neobridge Model phase 2 Demonstrate.
Neobridge 04.jpg — Neobridge Model phase 3 Situate.
Neobridge 05.jpg — Neobridge Model genealogy and framework diagram.
Neobridge 06.jpg — Zooming the Screen Space workshop, guidebook.
Creation-Destruction — Clip from video documentation of performance with two camera perspectives, 0:45"

Neobridge is a speculative hypothesis of structuring new forms of practice through integrating layers and hybridising discursive polysemiotic dimensions. In building this model of art practice, which serves as a linkage from artist to artwork and artwork to audience, my research is centred in promoting two values: multi-dimensionality and complexity.

1. A Multi-dimensional Observation: A Neobridging approach to criticism involves discovering, recognising and understanding the higher dimensions—the unseen, underlying, unspoken and implicit assumptions, ideas and frameworks of cultural forms.

2. A Complex Process: In comparison to the linear way of transferring message from artist through art work to the audience, the Neobridge model aims to deconstruct the determinacy and primacy of the work of art, that a linear thinking process of visual representation could be alternatively substituted with net-like discursive “bridges”.

Standing at the point which supports a preference for fragmentation over unity, dispersion over linear order, this model raises the question—in the contemporary art practice, how to transmit cognitive and sensory information across media and to dissolve the boundaries between genre, media and context?

Within my experimental projects, the starting points are always from a fascination of multisensoriality, affective politics of perception and material reconsiderations of place, relation, temporality and memory. I like to pursue intra-actions between movement and thought, creative practice and new materialist theory-making, ethics and politics. The multimodal material input provides a point of departure from which personal and collective memories and histories are highlighted. It concerns matters such as the memory of a material, the journey of a material between different time or space, and the adaptation of a material performed within different context and read by different audience that could produce further meanings.




Decontexualisation 01.jpg — Letterforms, spreads from specimen book.
Decontexualisation 02.jpg — Hand-cut specimens original, black paper glued on translucent vellum.
Decontexualisation 03.jpg — Tiled A0 poster 🖥 ℝ:𝟚𝟘𝟛 𝔾:𝟚𝟙𝟡 𝔹:𝟜𝟚 🖨 𝐂:𝟐𝟓 𝐌:𝟎 𝐘:𝟏𝟎𝟎 𝐊:𝟎.
Decontexualisation 04.jpg — Digital prints of the scanned specimens on A4 paper.

Decontextualisation is typographic experiment using hand-cut forms to compose letters while using the scraps/throwaways/negative forms to compose another version of the lettering. (i.e. A and A’) Letters are the components to form text and meaning but interestingly during the visual communication process letters could also be iconoclastic by their non-referentiality—they are pictorial forms which are detached from the meaning. The newly-formed unreadable alphabets (A’s) stand on their own in the foreground and while decoding the content and form a language that separates itself from the authorised meaning. Form becomes the content.




Form-bridging Independent Process 01.jpg — Form-bridging overview.
Form-bridging Independent Process 02.jpg — Acrylic paintings on canvas, clay frame.
Form-bridging Independent Process 03.jpg — Acrylic paintings on canvas, clay frame. Lithography prints.
Form-bridging Independent Process 04.jpg — Enlarged black forms printed and titled, imagery installation, Royal College of Art Battersea studio.
Form-bridging Independent Process 05.jpg — Embroidered Forms on clothing. Can Yang X 1831 Shop Project, 2021.
Form-bridging Independent Process 06.jpg — Personal Wearable Art Archive. Hand-painted patterns on vintage clothing.

Form-Bridging is an on-going experimental process in deepening and defining the Neobridge Model. It aims to address the new forms of art practice through the journey of form-making and deconstruction of text, which take the form-making as a visual tool.

Form-Bridging is just a collection of ambiguous undefined clusters which have been produced when in doubt produce them out. It is an ongoing list of implicit things that have been spoken out but doesn’t really say anything. It goes beyond linguistic taxonomy and solidity of retelling or translation. Meaning is situational and unstable, it can be altered, negated or collapse on its own.




Form-bridging collaborative Workshop 01.jpg — Form-bridging workshop on June 27th Sunday, 10:30-11:30 AM (GMT+1), register for physical event at Ugly Duck, London on Eventbrite.
Form-bridging collaborative Workshop 02.jpg — Form-bridging workshop on June 27th Sunday, 10:30-11:30 AM (GMT+1), register for online event via Zoom.
Form-bridging collaborative Workshop 03.jpg — Form-bridging workshop series1 outcome poster.
Form-bridging collaborative Workshop 04.jpg — Form-bridging workshop series2 and guest talk session promotion graphics.

Form-bridging workshop is an experiment to break the primacy and dominancy of both artist and artwork, by seeing the importance of relationship and relative forces as a method to break through the limitations of the self but form a desire to neutralise the position of narrator or speaker into a reflective space. The workshop series1 that took place on April 23rd was a collaborative drawing exercise, with participants will be required to bring in their own tool (could be either physical or digital) to create forms based on the observation of each other’s form-making process during the workshop. 

The second series will be taking place on 10:30-11:30 AM (BST) June 27th during RCA satellite event at Ugly Duck.