Meanwhile In China

Yang Mu & Sai Bao – Matthias Schäfer (DE), Sofia Braga (IT)


Douyin 抖音, internationally known as TikTok, has become one of the world’s most successful apps and a leading platform for creating and sharing short videos. It was developed by Beijingbased Bytedance and is one of the few apps that has been successful outside the big firewall. To comply with Chinese law, Douyin is a completely independent app from TikTok. Although the user interface and logo look the same, the content is completely different and not accessible in the international version. The goal of this work is to explore and analyze this vast digital ecosystem from different perspectives: screenshots capture a moment in a rapidly changing environment, determined by Douyin’s artificially intelligent recommendation algorithm. These found images are then decontextualized without change to give visitors space and opportunity to think about them and gain insights into a delimited platform and its algorithms used to show you the most engaging content.



Yang Mu & Sai Bao (Matthias Schäfer (DE) & Sofia Braga (IT)) Yang Mu & Sai Bao (Matthias Schäfer & Sofia Braga) 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?”