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Information Experience Design (MA)

Xinpeng Zhao

Xinpeng Zhao is an interdisciplinary designer and researcher of artificial objects and experiences in daily life, based between London and Beijing. 

Her previous education includes photography, graphic design, and social design. Outside of her academic studies, Xinpeng has interned in the field of graphic design and publishing. Meanwhile, this mix of skills and knowledge is driven by diverse research, drawing on a wide range of research methods, including but not limited to discursive design, speculative design, anthropology and sociology. After she completed her undergraduate studies in Art Design at the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing, she continues her research on borders and urban landscapes while continuing her studies at the Royal College of Art. Her graduate project at the RCA combines coding, 3D data-collecting technologies and narratives of identities and landscapes that hold complex meanings. 

Her recent research focuses on barriers and the disappearance of nearby in a specific place to explore the relation between the human body and identity, place and non-place. She translates in-depth research into meaningful narratives. Largely concerned with how to use design methods to intervene in urban space and the issues of society, so that to provoke discussion in a playful manner through objects and spaces. Her self-construct interconnected systems generally manifest in interactive installation and digital images, in which she envisions a potential coexistence between post-humans and the surrounding environment.


Royal College of Art | MA Information Experience Design, 2022 - 2023

Central Academy of Fine Art | BA Art Design, 2017 - 2021

Selected Exhibition

The Nudity of Oyster, The Hidden Manifesto, Gallery 46, London, 2022

Urban Blue Screen, Ready to Go, CAFA Art Museum, Beijing

Cubicle, From Vision to Fruition: Documentary Exhibition of Higher Art Education, Shanghai, 2019

He and There, Urban Spirit - Archives of contemporary public design, 798 Beijing, 2018

A image of breaking the boundaries

Compared with the connection, I observe a separation state in the current world - a polarization of opinions and a detachment of physical sensations. The second is the polarization of the method of gaining experience in daily life. People are concerned with the very near self and the distant world (goals, destinations) at the same time. Therefore, the space between people and surroundings is becoming increasingly difficult to perceive. This phenomenon is known as the disappearance of the nearby. I believe the essence of individual identities and perception of cultural belonging can be found and enhanced in landscapes(not only nature but also artificial). Due to urbanization, the identities of people are in an uncanny state of change without a clear direction. As I observed in London, We can rarely offer an account about the people we meet every day or about recent changes in where I live. As strangers or outsiders, The self and the world are wide apart and collapse into each other during the pandemic. 

Before the Nearby Disappears is a research project that explores this issue. It is an investigation to reveal the hidden landscape of daily life practice by creating virtual experiences of the gap between barriers and proposing experimental methods of engaging people to pay attention to overlooked objects and identities. The project is dedicated to people who live in an unfamiliar and fast-paced metropolis with the sensory experience of the nearby, based on a complex social context.

The fundamental shift in perspective allows us to see that which is not obvious and neglected. In the face of the collapse of Anthropocene boundaries, there is an urgent need to rethink the nearby where we live. For that to happen, we must reconsider how we see objects, nonhumans and surrounding places. The potential of this perspective shift is that it can help us reconsider how to reconstruct the relationship between us and Anthropocene.


Medium: Interactive webpage

Size: 1920px x 1080px

The nearby is a space of representation — a lived space that generates intimate knowledge about how the social world is constituted in concrete and contradictory ways, thereby suggesting potential for changes. 

The interactive webpage as the research progress and outcome, uses barriers as research object to discuss the phenomenon. It is to redesign the gap as a mediator to interrupt people's neglect of the scope hidden by obstacles, thus provoking the audience's exploratory behaviour to see and to further experience the gap in order to repair the disappearance nearby. 

Through collecting visual archives from Bayswater that are related to individual identity, I create a sensory-led experience for people in the virtual space to find the remixed giant spectacle of barriers. At the end of the webpage, I deployed an image of an obstacle that was digitally populated with thousands of images of this place to provoke people to think subconsciously about what is nearby and what is not visible while using the page. A blurry self who was absent in the real world will appear in front of the barriers to mind the gap between the barriers.

Link: (Full-screen viewing is recommended)

image 01
01 Place ➝ Road Edge ➝ Obstacles ➝ Gap

The place is a type of object, an object in which one can dwell, a stable object that catches people's attention, a focus of value, nurture and support. If we have a sense of space because we can move, then we have a sense of place because of a pause in movement. The pause makes it possible for a locality to become a centre of felt value.

The gap of obstacles is the visual window when the experience pauses.

image 01
02 Gap ➝ Hidden Scenes

Based on the specific location — Bayswater which has a non-place state, through a visual ethnography method, I did an on-site observation of the road edge to record images and road noise, and to do the study and interpretation of social organisations and cultures in daily life, from the perspective of the neglected obstacles. This research advocates a way of perceiving the ‘the nearby’ by taking ‘the gap’ as a central scope. The nearby is a lived space where one encounters people with diverse backgrounds on a regular basis. The nearby brings different positions into one view angle, thus constituting a ‘scope’ of seeing. Such scope enables nuanced understandings of reality and facilitates new social relations and actions. 

New Barriers
03 Hidden Scenes ➝ New Barrier (generated by coding)

Sometimes the barrier is the gap. 

The possibility of bestowing form and function onto formless things — like invisible barriers that may appear to be gaps with a particular form and function, when viewed from a different, alternative perspective. 

image of model
01 Model
image of landscape
02 Remixed Landscape

Digital Landscape Archive

These virtual landscapes are to offer the audience a new experience of materiality and an objective perspective on phenomena and to think critically in this way. As N. Katherine Hayles pointed out in How we became posthuman that finiteness is a state of humanity. Humanity is embedded in a complex world, and human continuity cannot be separated from the material world. This is because embodiment and the integration of people with their native environment in the post-human era are important.


Encounter: Watch the spectacle ➝ Inspect: Find the gap ➝ Recognize: Click the gap ➝ Interpret: Explore the nearby


Medium: Mixed media

Size: 1920px x 1080px

The imprisoned poem: how humans cross the 'Ping' when the body is hindered is an optical illusion installation demo which is currently digital on an interactive web page. The Object below the installation are barriers embedded with experimental videos, which correspond to poems written by three observers about how humans cross the 'Ping Feng' when the body is hindered. When people enter the space, Imagine we are there, the first thing people sees is a complete obstacle, like a visual barrier. All thoughts are lost. But When we rotate the angle of view, we discover that the installation is actually made up of several monomers of 'Ping Feng'. This is kind of like an illusion like we subconsciously avoid obstacles. Gaps allow audience to pass through and to look closely at the video, Listen and read how people use poetic words and non-human elements instead of the tools that intervene in this obstacle.

Link: viewing is recommended)