Skip to main content
Graphic Design

Yan Li

Yan is a London-based visual communicator. She is currently studying Graphic Design at the Royal College of Art, although most of her designs are not particularly graphic. Meanwhile, she is an in-house designer and an account executive in a creative agency - Made in London. She has worked with clients from Asia to Europe including: Huawei, Nokia, Visit Britain, London & Partners, etc. 

Degree Details

School of Communication

Graphic Design

Since I was a year one student at the RCA, I have had a strong interest in ‘Artveillance’ (Art and Surveillance). Today, there are over 6 million permanent CCTV cameras installed in the U.K., while the U.S. has tens of millions. In addition to those obvious cameras, data-surveillance from big tech companies to authorities is making the place where we live a completely observed public space. As a vulnerable individual, what I expect to do is not directly fight against the powerful ‘Big Brother’ but at least watch the watcher back to avoid being easily defined as a sequence of numbers in the database.

‘A man can be destroyed but not defeated.’ 

Have a great watching.


Yan Li

Everything can be a watcher getting involved in the surveillance system. The other day I was walking on the street, I noticed there were two security cameras placed next to each other, which looked like a pair of googly eyes. After that, I made a harmless prank/ art intervention on the streets by pasting these amusing but conspicuous stickers to remind people that there are some potential watchers around us. 

If you were a Gen-Y like me growing up with a famous Japanese animation called Doraemon, you must have been eager to have one of the magic gadgets in it - Memory Bread (Coping Toast). One presses the bread on a book, and the contents will then be 'printed' on the bread. When the user eats the bread later, it will allow them to memorize any information on it. From this 'futuristic function' at that time, you can tell how desperate people are for obtaining unforgettable memories.

Nowadays, with the advent of cloud storage, remembering is easier than forgetting. Digital technology empowers us as never before, yet it has unforeseen consequences as well. In Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age, Viktor Mayer has proposed a simple solution to resist tech companies’ strong incentive to track your online behavior through their perfect remembering - setting expiration dates on the information. I collected my own online data of websites I browsed regularly from the chrome setting, then printed these sequences on a few pieces of “Memorization Bread”, placing them somewhere damp. After one month, the texts embody my data were blurred following the appearance of mould. This 'rotten work' is expected to act as a reminder for netizens to actively delete their digital traces on a regular basis in order to slow down the pace of the internet’s ability to memorize. 


Bread, Eatable Colouring

I secretly installed a camera in a lift of the White City campus, which recorded a ten-minute video and saved it to a USB. I encrypted this video file so that nobody, including myself, can see the events which were recorded. Because the image inside is invisible and intangible, we cannot figure out how many people and what happened in the lift at that moment. In this context, the lift may be simultaneously both private space and public space, which is similar to a physical concept: Quantum superposition state.