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Information Experience Design (MA)


DING LING(丁澪) is an independent artist and experimental filmmaker.

Using poetic image, performance, poetry, installation and experimental theatre as the main medium of expression, DING LING’s work explores unconventional narratives and a combination of art, philosophy and literature.

Idealistic Daydreamer

'Void but Alive'

BA Visual Communication, East China University of Science and Technology, 2018-2022

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

A photo of DING LING

DING LING's focus area is based on positive nihilism and Taoist thought, questioning about the meaning of self-existence and the world at the level of consciousness and cognition, and revisiting the dialectical relationship between the value of life and death. Expressing the critical spirit of positive nihilism to break through confinement, remeasuring the idea of everything and reshaping the value of the exploration of society and the era.

DING LING's creative work comes from her observations and reflections in life, rooted in her experiences of upbringing and cultural background. In addition, her background in visual communication, working experience in the film industry and literary and philosophical underpinnings have helped her explore and sort out her creative strands during her postgraduate studies: from personal emotions to grand issues, there are subtle connections. She has expanded her practice to include installations in natural spaces, environmental theatre, contemporary art academic research, and curation.

Going inwards is an inner exploration and self-observation; going outwards, after reaching the void, we still have the wide power to question to life.


The inspiration of title comes from ancient Chinese music poem collection 乐府诗集《箜篌引》:


'Do Not' Cross the River is based on the spirit of being-towards-death, and through Positive Nihilism and Taoist philosophy, expresses an idealistic practice with tragic and powerful spirituality. The abstract narrative expresses questions about life, the ebb and flow of life's journey, its length and tension, the ultimately river crossing and the sense of transcendence. The finite nature of life gives meaning to life. A cross-media experimental theatre combining video, installation and performance.

People's fear of death stems from the unknown, fighting the blinders and facing life and death head on. Life is like a long river, we are wrapped in time as we travel; the river as the process of crossing life and death, in crossing the river we realize and rethink the meaning of death and the value of life.

4-step white stairs with long gauze Installation
4-step white stairs with long gauze Installation
4-step white stairs with long gauze Installation
4-step white stairs with long gauze Installation
4-step white stairs with long gauze Installation
Installation: Steps and Long River 步履与长河

Director: DING LING

Theatre Performer: DING LING, Xiaowu Peng, Sen Kwok

Sound Performer: Shangyang Yu

For the whole year Special Thanks to dear tutor Gian Luca, Sophie and Kristina, Special Thanks to artist Yuan Yihang and all my dear friends


Experimental Theatre; Performance, Installation and Video

The Fading Spaciousness 消失的旷野

'Over endless plains, stumbling in cracked earth.'

T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land is a prophetic patchwork of literary, cultural, and religious allusions, united in establishing a landscape of loss. Civilisation is presented as saturated but infertile, inundated in authorities and absolutes, barren of autonomy. 

Perhaps we have become unwitting participants in this image, set to traverse an endless no man’s land of pre-trodden earth carved by the undulations of obligation. There is no wild in this wilderness, no space to seek and cultivate for our own. Everything is irrigated by prescribed meanings; nothing is unaccounted for, and the trajectory of our lives have become narrow and predetermined. We duly follow, numbed and confused.

The Fading Spaciousness looks at the infinite possibilities of self-exploration. Through research into Positive Nihilism philosophy, Death of Proximity and Art Intervention, experiments with image and poetry, this project is a poetic expression of the reasons for the fade of spaciousness, such as established meanings, restricted paths, and fragmented overloaded information, and the struggle against this.

The film express a process of searching and struggling to break free. Through experiencing the work the audience is invited to empathize and think critically about the spiritual plight of people nowadays, to call for the hope of recovery, and to broaden new perspectives for the search for the meaning of life.

Void flowing

Flowing into a chaotic spaciousness

Faint candle flames cram into the night

Lit on the last long river of fading

My spaciousness is blank

They say, desire is absent

They say, significance is on this side

Insignificance is on the other side of the narration

Mist is heavy, falling from the sky

Sound of sea has dropped into the deep abyss

Ruins collapse and bricks are piled

The spaciousness is fragmented and drifts with abandon

So I dare not wade lethargically to the edge of the cliff

Solid machines

Cutting through the wilderness night after night

The wild cry of joy

Making me sleep in peace

They say, consciousness rustles

Flowing thoughts turn into overlapping delirium

I retreat from the footprints I have made

A fleeting, eternal vision emerges


Three-channel Video



Water is flowing

Consciousness is flowing 

Time is flowing 

As time elapses

We are not dying away

We continue to exist in another way

The process of moving a photographic picture from blur to clarity

Out of Drifting 游离之外

Since the birth of humanity into the world, it has been in a process of infinite and recurrent cognition of things. This process corresponds to the three levels mentioned in Zen philosophy: seeing the mountain as a mountain; seeing the mountain as not a mountain; and seeing the mountain as still a mountain.

When people present themselves in an unfamiliar environment, the relationship between them and the surroundings of the city feels out of control, creating a sense of alienation. We are lost in the established order. Chaotic drift, out-of-control collision, contradictory fragmentation. How does the passage of time attempt to find a zone out of drifting to confront it?

Based on the Taoist philosophical idea of 'The image of non-image', it reflects on the process of cognition of things and on the state of obscured appearances, cognitive conflicts, contradictions and trance. The image goes from blur to clarity in order to express a process of confronting the borders of alienation.

  • The human willing, emotion, and rationality, constitute an orderly extension of mind.
  • Cognition is flux. Fluidity is the absurdity of disorder against orderliness.
  • The nullity of the nature of things reconfigures cognition.

Special Thanks to Charlotte Xianing Zhou