Annie Chen Ziyao’s works always focus on the relationship between humans and the social environment in this digital age, which takes a satirical view of social, cultural, and political issues. The range of mediums she uses to express her concept includes photography, video, performance, and interactive media. By using various mediums, she desires to create an artificial playground with humor and charm to replace the existing regulation. Her video project Ms. Meta Meta is a series of satirical videos made in the style of trendy YouTube video tutorials led by my sassy social media alter ego, Ms. Meta Meta. In the video, a digital utopia establishes a new beauty standard that embraces visible flaws and questions long-held beauty standards that promote a porcelain complexion and smooth, blemish-free skin.
This work critiques digital consumerism and harmful global beauty standards by adopting the language of the beauty industry and its promises of perfection in the form of digital beauty filters and image manipulation by subverting the very notions of beauty and beauty routines conducted by social media influencers. Ms. Meta Meta leads viewers through her surreal tutorials that accentuate rather than hiding visible flaws, like pock-marked skin, using highly questionable techniques, such as a “donut glow” face cream and the application of brightly colored candy sprinkles. The work amplifies an aesthetic of artificiality with its dominant use of magenta, an extra-spectral color that isn’t associated with monochromatic light. The experience, overall, is a cyberfeminist, dream-like world where beauty standards have been upended and are replaced by new, irreverent, and playful ideas.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Annie Chen Ziyao is a New York based photographer and video artist. Chen received her B.A. in art & art history and business from St.Lawrence University in 2018 and an MFA in Photo, Video, and Related Media from the School of Visual Arts in 2021. Her work has been featured in exhibitions nationally and internationally, which includes New York, Indianapolis, Vienna, London, Beijing, Milan, and Slovenia.
© Annie Chen Ziyao