Meanwhile In China

Multimedia installation in collaboration with Matthias Schäfer | 2019


Sai Bao & Yang Mu (Sofia Braga & Matthias Schäfer) create art within and out of digital social networks. Through subversive interactions they critically engage in a conversation with big centralized online platforms. Using content creators as their paint and code, performance and video as their paintbrush they reappropriate digital life. “When you have so much content out there already, why bother to produce new stuff?”


Douyin, internationally known as TikTok, became one of the most successful apps worldwide. China alone accounts for 150 million active users and over 1 Billion smartphones worldwide have installed the application. In our work we are exploring this vast digital ecosystem from different perspectives. By capturing the interface we are preserving a moment in an incredibly fast changing environment. Douyin’s AI recommendation algorithm generates a list of videos that is optimized for your engagement. We decontextualize those found images without alteration to give visitors the space to reflect upon them. Using the app from different locations, in different times and with different accounts we hope to gain insight into the mechanism of the platform and understand the users within.