Alice Yuan Zhang Ran a Workshop in Interspecies Speed Dating
Editor’s note: an earlier version of this post ran in 2022. We’re publishing this update in honor of our August 2023 exhibition, Art and Tech, which includes work from Alice Yuan Zhang.
Alice Yuan Zhang is a Los Angeles artist, educator, and community weaver working with interactive technology. She left China when she was nine years old. With an upbringing based on “ascetic Buddhist values, and cultural/immigrant traditions,” Alice became involved in the arts early on. Recent projects include an interactive garden live-streamed by solar, an immersive web + augmented reality project honoring Indigenous plant elders, and an animist workshop called Interspecies Speed Dating.
Alice earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of California at Berkeley. She worked in the corporate world before making an abrupt change of course after her father’s death. Alice teaches media-design at Sarah Lawrence College and lectures on relational ecology, DIY community building, and digital commoning. Her participatory endeavors investigate notions of home, interspecies neighbors, time travel, and the immigrant-American dream. She uses interactive technologies, such as augmented reality, to facilitate dialogue and grassroots change.
Alice uses AR to create “homes” that go beyond the idea of place. To her, home is a “knowing of our physical body, ancestral memories, ecological community, the evolving social fabric we are implicated in, and a reincarnations of ourselves when we die.” Alice’s work seems particularly relevant during a time when large numbers of people are working remotely, our idea of home is both more fluid and confined, and concepts of the workplace are increasingly intertwined with our domain.
Below, Alice’s Anti-Racist Pop Quiz is an educational tool she created in June of 2020 in response to police brutality and systemic racism in the US. Take the quiz here, then head over to NOT REAL ART’s August 2023 exhibition, Art and Tech, to see Alice’s submission.
“The idea of ‘home’ is especially tender to me.” —Alice Yuan Zhang
All photos published with permission of the artist(s).
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