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Information Experience Design (MA)

Yiru Yan (Cainy)

Yiru Yan (b. 1994), better known as Cainy, is an interdisciplinary artist who delves into existential themes and spirituality through her diverse body of work.

She prioritizes giving voice to marginalized stories and deftly intertwining the captivating and sublime allure of nature and the universe with elements of art, technology, religion, and science in her artistic creations. Through the skilful application of poetic techniques, Cainy masterfully combines these seemingly contrasting elements, giving rise to a symbiotic dialogue. The intricate interplay of these elements forges a transformative nexus, inviting a profound exploration of the intricate dynamics between diverse mediums.

Cainy's artistic practice encompasses a diverse range of mediums, with a particular focus on creating immersive experiences. Her repertoire includes photography, digital art, installations, AV performance, and spatial sound, all of which evoke profound emotional and spiritual resonance. With the ability to challenge and captivate, Cainy's artistry has gained recognition in prestigious venues, and events, as well as numerous festivals worldwide.

Selected Exhibitions & Activities:


Nocturnes - Flicker, IKLECTIK, UK

Echoes of the Abyss - Murmations, Royal College of Art, London, UK.

Dream Harmonies - Canal Dream Oasis, Chengdu, CN

Round Sky Square Earth - PASSAGES, IKLECTIK, UK

Celestial Armillary and Ubiquitous Wave, IRCAM Forum, Centre Pompidou, Paris, FR.


The Catalyst - Textile Circulatory Centre of Research-RCA, Regenerative Fashion Hub, London Design Festive, London, UK

FATIMA - White Noise, Royal College of Art, London, UK.

Holy Hymn of the Air - IRCAM Forum, Centre Pompidou, Paris, FR.

22° Halo of the Moon - Acoustic Territories X White Noise, IKLECTIK, London, UK.

Holy Hymn of the Air - Roadside Picnic Exhibition, Cromwell Place, London, UK.

Holy Hymn of the Air- Migratory Birds 300 Canal Dream, Aranya Theatre Festival, Aranya x London, China, UK.

FATIMA - Migratory Birds 300 Canal Dream, Aranya Theatre Festival, Aranya x London, China, UK.


Recycle Life - New Author Salon, VCD, Beijing, CN

Recycle Life - We Space x No Theater, Shenzhen, CN

Recycle Life - J's Artist studio x No Theater, Shanghai, CN

Recycle Life - Local Landscape x No Theater, Guangzhou, CN

photo of artist

In an epoch where criticism is universal, ideals are lowered, and emotions of veneration, reverence, worship, and wonder have been largely marginalised.

Upon her arrival in London, the artist embarked on an exploration of 18 ruined churches across the UK, utilising various mediums to express her reflections and sentiments, bestowing the poetic lens onto these religious edifices. She accentuates the distinctive beauty of these abandoned spaces, intertwined with nature, merging the transient and the enduring into an aesthetic experience. The dialectic tensions between purpose and accident, nature and spirit, past and present, this enigmatic antagonism shaping existence. Artistic sensitivity goes beyond the tangible, allowing us access to the realm of boundless impressionability. 

In contrast to the 'orderly' field of study where large religious buildings are preserved or restored as important material cultural heritage, this project focuses more on the sites that have become derelict, deserted, and overlooked but which nature continues to chew away. In these structures shaped by the externalization of the human spirit of awe, nature has turned them into its own material and created another artwork, just as art originally used nature's substance.

The work encourages us to channel our mind's focus onto the temporality of these spaces: the burgeoning, growing life juxtaposed against the fading, decaying phenomena. What was once fleeting in our souls now solidifies into a potent form, resonating within us as a soft echo - an awakening of our long-neglected inner self and prompting a reassessment of our spirit's position within this contemporary age.

“ as a sublime reminder of the passing of all human dreams and devices. ”

— Les Ruins, Comte de Voiney

St Edmund Church, Southwood
St Edmund Church, Southwood, 2022Medium: Laser Scan, Photopolymer, Etching on Paper Size: 60 x 90cm
St Mary’s Church, Somerton
St Mary’s Church, Somerton, 2022Medium: Laser Scan, Photopolymer, Etching on Paper Size: 60 x 90cm
St Mary’s in the Wood Church - The Arch
St Mary’s in the Wood Church - The Arch, 2021Medium: Laser Scan, Photopolymer, Etching on Paper Size: 60 x 90cm
 St Mary’s in the Wood Church
St Mary’s in the Wood Church, 2021Medium: Laser Scan, Photopolymer, Etching on Paper, ** paint Size: 60 x 90cm

Elegies of Sanctity - Quadriptych Prints (2023)

The artist intertwines memory and feeling of with digital manipulation in this series of four etching prints. Utilizing digital point cloud data acquired from laser scans, the project captures the nature and architectural details of ruined churches, transforming them into photopolymer etchings affixed onto a single sheet of paper. This fusion of two diverse photographic and technical processes, separated by a century, leverages the precision of contemporary laser scanning techniques. These frames embody a series of temporal and historical paradoxes - serving as portals into the past and fragments with a future - allowing us to drift in time.


Laser Scan, Photopolymer, Etching on Paper


60 x 90cm

Elegies of Sanctity - Immersive Installation

This project is actively seeking funding partners.

Elegies of Sanctity is an innovative VR project inspired by a personal journey to explore the beauty and decay of 12 UK ruined churches. The project offers a fresh perspective on historic religious architecture, focusing on the unique beauty of these derelict spaces intertwined with nature. By creating an immersive 6Dof VR experience, the audience is invited to explore each site and contemplate the complex relationship between humans, nature, temporality, and our spiritual past.

Utilizing LiDAR scanning, Impulse Response technology, and Ambisonic sound design, the VR experience meticulously captures each site's spatial and acoustic characteristics, providing an engaging experience for the audience. Detailed point cloud visual effects immerse users in the interplay between nature and decaying structures. Interactive elements allow users to uncover hidden layers of meaning, fostering an appreciation for the churches' architectural nuances. Romantic English poetry passages are integrated to evoke emotional connections with the audience.

Elegies of Sanctity - Trailer


Virtual Reality, Projection Mapping, Installation, Laser Light, Smoke.


Burning Leeds _ Audience view
Burning Leeds _ Realtime VR interface
Burning Leeds _ Realtime VR interface
Burning Leeds _ Audience
Burning Leeds _ realtime screen shot
Burning Leeds _ realtime screen shot


6DoF VR Experience, Unreal Engine


Digital open world


This 16mm film uses the traditional techniques of moving image development, presenting contemporary dance in conjunction with Philip Larkin's poem 'Church Going.’

- 41st White Noise, Royal College of Art, London, UK.

- Migratory Birds 300 Canal Dream, Aranya Theatre Festival, Aranya x London, China, UK.


Or, after dark, will dubious women come

To make their children touch a particular stone;

Pick simples for a cancer; or on some

Advised night see walking a dead one?

Power of some sort or other will go on

In games, in riddles, seemingly at random;

But superstition, like belief, must die,

And what remains when disbelief has gone?

Grass, weedy pavement, brambles, buttress, sky,


16mm Film


Holy Hymn of The Air
Holy Hymn of The Air - installation view

- IRCAM Forum 2022, Centre Pompidou, Paris, FR.

- Roadside Picnic Exhibition, Cromwell Place, London, UK.

- Migratory Birds 300 Canal Dream, Aranya Theatre Festival, Aranya x London, China, UK.


LaserScan, Moving Image, Spatial Sound



Nocturnes: When the World Sleeps

Audio-Visual Design.

This Project is collaborating with Designer Junyu Wen from CSM Course MA Narrative Environments.

‘Nocturnes: When the World Sleeps’ is a pop-up audio-visual experience and an online platform, looking to redefine our nighttime activities. In contrast to the social and market expectation of 8 continuous hours of sleep, which can induce anxiety, but may not apply to every individual. ’Nocturnes‘ challenges this notion by emphasising the beauty and naturalness of bi-phasic (segmented) sleep.


Echoes of the Abyss

Echoes of the Abyss is an interdisciplinary audio-visual performance that immerses the audience in the enchanting underwater soundscape, using an open-source audio live stream captured by hydrophones at a deep-sea cabled observatory. Through the transformative power of artificial intelligence, the project reveals the hidden sounds and unseen images from the ocean depths, inviting the audience to perceive the world through the lens of sound. By blending improvisational techniques in music, coding, and visual art, we hope to transcend performance boundaries. The project aims to cultivate an appreciation for the intricate sonic landscapes of the oceans and raise awareness about the need to protect aquatic life from noise pollution and other human-induced threats. Through reflection and advocacy, Echoes of the Abyss seeks to inspire responsible stewardship and preservation of our fragile underwater ecosystems.

Project Credit

Concept: Cainy Yiru Yan, Bryan Yueshen Wu, Chang Meng, Shangyang Yu,

Sound performers: Bryan Yueshen Wu, Shangyang Yu

Visual performers: Cainy Yiru Yan, Chang Meng,


Catalyst - Regenerative Fashion Hub, London. 2022

Visual & Concept Design.

Medium: 2022, Interactive Moving Image, Quadraphonic Soundscape, Drum.

In Collaboration with Devanshi Rungta, Xinyi Ren, Laura Selby, & the Textile Circulatory Centre

Catalyst of Transformation

As you turn the drum, the visual piece before you tells the story of material transformation. Watch how end-of-life textiles and bio-waste can be broken down and reformed anew. The images transport you to the nano plane where cellulose molecules grow, entangle and form back into renewed cellulose for circular materials.  As the drum turns, light and shadow envelop the space around you. A projection of the cellulose fibre structure transports you deeper within the renewed material form. 

Listen and feel the sounds of the material change of the renewed cellulose. A musical soundscape crafted from recordings capturing the transformation process, re-amplified through the table's surface.

Catalyst for change

Become a part of the catalyst for material transformation, as you turn the drum your gesture matches the rate of change in the visuals surrounding you. Through small actions, we can contribute to great progressions for change.

Round Sky, Square Earth,2022
Launch Project
Round Sky, Square Earth,2022

Round Sky, Square Earth, 2022 – Moving Image, Laser Projection, Ambisonic Sound, Haze, 10min.

Round Sky, Square Earth is an audiovisual work collaborated with Ke Peng. Inspired by the ancient Chinese cosmology model of the sky and earth, this work seeks to translate the model through sound and visuals to create a new version — a passage that can link the past and now.

This work aims to transport the audience to the centre of a giant armillary in space by utilising spatial audio and immersive visuals. At the same time, the laser and projection are used as visual elements to ‘re-measure’ the Asian Astronomical map and respond to experimental music. Starting from the Sun, as the giant armillary sphere rotates and practical accompaniment with ancient instruments, it takes the audience on a slow Astronomical sound wave journey through the nine planets.

Performed in PASSAGE, IKLECTIK London UK.

The newly developed version of Celestial Armillary and Ubiquitous Wave has been exhibited at The Centre Pompidou IRCAM Forum Presentation FR, 2023.