Skip to main content
Jewellery & Metal (MA)

Shiqing Yao

Before joining the RCA Jewellery and Metal programme, Shiqing Yao studied Jewellery Design at Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology.

In the past two years, Shiqing has gradually become interested in public art and has begun to try to present her work on the street. She believes that moving away from the exhibition gallery, the work can more freely and actively engage in dialogue with pedestrians. She likes to observe the different reactions of people interacting with her work. 

In addition to installations, her recent work has focused on underground publications, electronic music and experimental short films. Her hobby is cooking and collecting fruit stickers.

Degree Details

School of Arts & Humanities

Jewellery & Metal (MA)

In the legend, the Tower of Babel not only represents the desire of human beings to reach heaven together, but is also a symbol of human beings' inability to cooperate because of language barriers. If, as in the myth, language is the main cause of conflict between people, then Shiqing is determined to find a tool that can enable people to communicate in addition to language.

In the current context of the coronavirus sweeping the world, the experience of participating in ‘Clap for the NHS’ has inspired her. The long and lonely lockdown gave applause unprecedented meaning. It replaced language and spread positive signals to people, connecting our hearts through emotional resonance. While being excited by the applause, she also realised how important unity is. Only when the forces of the whole of society are brought together can we achieve the common goal of defeating this epidemic. 

Therefore, she used plaster and clay to make ruins, combined with LED bulbs and EL wire, to form a set of public installations that can convert sound into light. Pedestrians can clap their hands to trigger the installation in the dark and use light to repair cracks in the wall. 

Shiqing hopes that her work will recall people's memory of the lockdown period that has ended. During the epidemic, we have experienced too many memorable moments. The dedication and sacrifice of countless people proved that although the Tower of Babel was not successfully built, people did not forget the original intention of building it.

Shiqing took the model ruins to the street and combined them with the cracks in the wall.

The model ruins on the ground can be lit by the sound of footsteps, thereby attracting pedestrians to continue exploring the lighting installations on the nearby walls.


plaster, clay, wireless sound-controlled LED light / EL wire system

By inserting the EL wire into narrow cracks, the purpose of filling the cracks with light is realised.

These pictures show Shiqing’s lighting experiments on several cracks near the RCA’s Battersea campus.


sound-controlled EL wire system

Here are two sets of models of ruined houses and bricks.  

When the clap activates the LEDs placed in models, the light will clearly show the outlines of the models in the dark and the different textures on their surface.


plaster, sound-controlled LED light system