Skip to main content
Information Experience Design (MA)

Shuning Diao

Shuning Diao is a multidisciplinary Chinese artist and researcher currently based in London. She completed her academic training in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) at the Renmin University of China, and she is currently pursuing a degree in Information Experience Design at the Royal College of Art.

Guided by a relentless pursuit of artistic expression, Shuning employs a wide array of mediums, ranging from textiles, clay, and paper to painting, moving images, and interactive technologies. This diverse palette enables her to actualise her creative vision, harmonising tactile materials with the intangible world of digital innovation. Her artistic practice is imbued with a dual purpose: to captivate the audience with a nuanced aesthetic experience while fostering interaction and inclusion within the artwork itself.

At the core of Shuning's creative endeavours lie profound themes with social and cultural significance. Within her work, Shuning focuses on significant themes such as language sexism, immigrant domestic workers, and female birth control tools, all of which form integral components of her feminist discourse. These subjects intertwine with her investigations into broader societal dynamics, such as the alienation of labour, the mass labor industry, and other intricate socio-historical contexts.

this is a photo of one of my work, showing a red eye caged by pins and Chinese character "自愿"

During my practice, I am deeply committed to maintaining a careful equilibrium between the ideas I wish to convey and those I ultimately choose for expression. While my work inevitably carries traces of my personal intentions and opinions, once it reaches completion, I find satisfaction in granting it complete autonomy to speak for itself in the eyes of the audience.

on the tre
at dover
at dover seaside
close up
thames river
under tre
on the grass
on the beach

Throughout history, the female body has been objectified, reduced to a mere vessel of desire and subjected to societal expectations, often denying women agency over their own identities. Similarly, musical instruments have long served as tools for external expression, relegating them to a state of passive submission to the musician's will.

Drawing inspiration from this shared experience of objectification, this work reimagines and presents the traditional Chinese instrument 埙(Xun), and transcends human intervention and becomes an instrument of the natural wind itself. By removing the need for human players, this work challenges the notion that the female body, or any being for that matter, should be restricted solely to external control and manipulation, by offering an alternative perspective—one that embraces autonomy, freedom, and empowerment.

The wind, a force of nature, becomes an emancipating entity, breathing life into the instrument and transforming it into an embodiment of liberation. As the wind flows through the instrument's meticulously crafted form of female’s vulva shape, a harmonious symphony of freedom unfolds. The sounds emanating from this instrument serve as a testament to the inherent strength and resilience of the female body, a celebration of its autonomy and agency.

showing 9 different sites of the series of installation
2023, Wuthering Her, a group of instruments, also an onsite installation art
Wuthering Her, Site 1
Wuthering Her, Site 2
Wuthering Her, Site 3
Wuthering Her, Site 4
Wuthering Her, Site 5
Wuthering Her, Site 6
Wuthering Her, Site 7
Wuthering Her, Site 8

When this work comes into an exhibition space, this immersive exhibition setup aims to present the contradictory states of the instruments, both in outdoor sites and within the controlled environment of the exhibition space. The exhibition unfolds as a dynamic journey, starting with the outdoor sites where the instruments are liberated to interact freely with the natural wind. Contrastingly, within the exhibition space, the instruments are placed under the subjective control of the audience. Here, the audience are invited to engage with the instruments, exerting their influence and manipulation over the sounds produced. 

This dichotomy serves to highlight the interplay between liberation and constraint, reflecting the origins of objectification within external influences—our collective environment, actions, and thoughts. It reiterates that the female body cannot be held responsible for the constraints imposed upon it.


Clay, Acrylic paint, glass, plastics


Diameter: 10cm; length: 25cm