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Visual Communication (MA)

Yiwen Wang

Yiwen is a Chinese communication practitioner and online blogger currently based in London. Her projects are based on personal experiences and use narrative and social experiments to reflect feminist issues in Chinese society. Her popular online blog is aimed at young women in China and she uses responses from her readers to directly contribute to her projects. 

Portrait of a young girl born in China in the 20th century

My practice focuses on my own family issues to point towards wider social phenomena. I grew up in the context of Chinese social reforms where the rapid development of the country deeply affected my family. I explore how China's reforms and opening up has influenced the changes of a specific generation, especially the changing status of women, marriage and the family.

My Future is Not a Dream
The egg
City lovers
Loan Shark
A French style house, Luxury and Italian Cusine

In this project, I take my family as an example to explore how a “class traveller” (a person who has moved higher in class through education) has been shaped by an era of significant social and economic changes in China and how this has affected their relationship with their children. 

It has been more than 40 years since China's reforms in began in 1978. It has been a period of extremely rapid and fundamental change in China. During this period, we experienced the market reforms, the spread of higher education, the surge in business and the changes in the view of money and consumerism. 

Many of the Chinese class travellers like my father grew up during this period of rapid development after China's reforms. Their fates are inseparable from this era which has led to a change in their class that deeply influenced their views on finance and their relationships with their children.

In this video My Future is Not a Dream, I tell the story of a Chinese father from the perspective of his daughter. The animations used are child like and contrast with the serious tone of the photographs. The narrative draws upon my own experiences of a child growing up in this era - the father's pursuit of eggs, luxury goods, city lovers - but hopes to speak of a germination of young Chinese women's’ experiences more widely.

Songs:Heart Rain by Ning Mao, Yuying Yang/ Yesterday Once More by The Carpenters/ My future is not a Dream by Yusheng Zhang

Some of the photography from Chinese news archive