Archived News

Current Articles | Archives | Search
by Gabrielle Kennedy

While Violet Luo’s ‘Amnesia State’ is a satirical design fiction, the lack of civic freedom in the digital age is a frightening yet inevitable reality.  In a closed state, government ideology legitimizes the lack of freedom that characterizes the mass media and people’s access to having and sharing information.

In her project Luo deals with the behaviour of both the private individual and the government in an information environment where censorship is pervasive.  She imagines a way of sharing banned information. Say, for example, by injecting data with a temporary loss of memory. Imagine if information had amnesia and could dodge surveillance. She questions whether such a design metaphor could evade detection and reach as many people as possible.

Luo, a current graduate of the Masters Information Design department, came to Design Academy Eindhoven after studying at Central Saint Martins in London.

“I had always looked to Eindhoven,” she says. “I liked the remoteness of it and that I could focus on what I was working on while living cheaply. For me London was too commercial and lacked the intellectual environment to be really playful. My plan is to stay on here to think more about my next move.”

Luo came to the subject of censorship quite naturally. “I come from China,” she says. “I was raised by parents who constantly reminded me to question everything in a controlled society such as ours. They told me there was no direct correlation between the Chinese central mass media, my formal education and the western media, and I have taken that critical attitude with me everywhere. It comes from my life experience.”

At first Luo was unsure about how to translate her background into a project. “I am really interested in discovering more about how my cultural background can work in design,” she says. “It works in film and art so I think I should be able to translate that feeling into design too.”

‘Amnesia State’ is a book, a film and a fictional identity and explores the terrain between individual creativity and information governance.

“It is ultimately about the intensity between people, power and government,” Luo says. “Which really means it is about China - a complicated country with a large population. I think if you really opened it up, it would become dangerous for ordinary people who might not have the knowledge to know what to do next.”

“And it is also true that my country has symptoms of amnesia, like when talking about the cultural-revolution, for example.”

‘Amnesia State’ can be seen at both Design Academy Eindhoven Graduation Show from 17 to 25 October. And also at Thing Nothing’ at the Van Abbemuseum from 17 October to 15 November.


Published: 18-Oct-2015 13:03
  • Amnesia State

    Yaolan Luo - Amnesia State - 2015

  • Amnesia State

    Yaolan Luo - Amnesia State - 2015