Can Yang talks us through her practice of “Neobridging” ahead of her RCA grad show

Can has coined her practice Neobridging, “a speculative hypothesis of structuring new forms of practice through integrating layers and hybridising discursive polysemiotic dimensions,” she says. “In building this model of art practice, which serves as a linkage from artist to artwork and artwork to an audience, my research is centred in promoting two values: multi-dimensionality and complexity.” Multi-dimensionality is an approach to criticism and involves “discovering, recognising and understanding the higher dimensions — the unseen, underlying, unspoken and implicit assumptions, ideas and frameworks of cultural forms.” The complexity part, on the other hand, references the mode through which Can’s work reaches its audience. “In comparison to the linear way of transferring a message from artist through artwork to the audience, the Neobridge model aims to deconstruct the determinacy and primacy of the work of art, that a linear thinking process of visual representation could be alternatively substituted with net-like discursive ‘bridges’.”
We’re long-term fans of designer Can Yang here at It’s Nice That. Back in 2018, in particular, we admired the deeply historical and philosophical work she was making out of RISD when we featured her as one of our Graduates that year. In the ensuing three years, it turns out Can has been busy building on that already strong foundation, undertaking a master’s in visual communication (on the experimental communication pathway) at the Royal College Art. Graduating very soon, Can’s practice today is thoroughly interdisciplinary and concerned with “the ubiquitous phenomenon of anaesthetising use of over-saturated images in our daily media, the ‘precession of simulacra’ by looking at post-modern philosophies and by using post-structuralist approaches to rediscover the functionality of two dimensional flat images.” This manifests as research but also as an image-led output, plus sound installations, and online and physical workshops.
Many of Can’s interests lie in understanding the over-saturation and context of images in our lives. For example, she explains, digital images prevail as the apparent endpoint due to the acceleration of “dematerialism” within the creative sphere. This means that the materiality of the digital medium has been highly contested and many conversations surrounding art in the digital age seem to affirm that this endpoint, especially when reproduced or recreated, results in devaluing the work or “a progressive decay of aura” as Can describes it. In turn, the works in Can’s graduation show not only exist in the digital space but across media, “from traditional painting and drawing, to reproducible etching and printing, indexical photography and cinematic images to digital manipulations.”