Chinese artist Xin Liu takes us inside her lab-like London studio, where engineering and creativity converge.

By Cathy Fan

If you were going to hashtag an image of artist Xin Liu’s work, some ideas could be #OutterSpace, #Engineer, #MechanicalDevices, #PrecisionInstruments, #Performances, and #Biological.

Liu (b. 1991) currently keeps a studio in London, where she moved a little over a year ago. The space resembles a sci-fi lab, filled with machinery, electronics, and instruments, which together form complex webs of wires and connections. Liu sees herself not only as an artist but also as an engineer. Her creative expressions encompass performances, installations, scientific experiments, and occasional academic papers.

Born and raised in the “oil city” of Karamay, located in the northern Uighur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang, in far northwestern China, Liu’s artistic journey began in Beijing after high school. She graduated from Tsinghua University with a major in Measurement, Control Technology, and Instruments. She then ventured to the US, obtaining a Master’s degree in Media Arts and Sciences from MIT Media Lab, following her M.F.A from the Rhode Island School of Design. The unique and expansive landscape of her hometown has indelibly influenced Liu’s memories and likely shaped the thematic core of her subsequent artistic pursuits.

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