Yuan Li, a visual designer studying Information Experience Design at the RCA. Every time she explores a specific topic, she likes to examine the multiple layers and subtle changes that make up "reality".
Hidden is about my own childhood experience. It is my most challenging project. I have to admit to being sincerely concerned that the “reality” is not easy. Owing to population pressure, China implemented a family planning policy in the last century. At that time many “extra children”, who were born without birth certificates or household registration, did not live with their own biological parents, who feared the punishment for having an extra child. "Hidden children", like me, have been consciously forgotten by history. Both the official government records and the media are silent about us. Therefore, I have chosen to use oral history to try to illuminate this "grey area".
Actually, In China we have a lot of discussion about the damage that family planning does to women's bodies and rights. I feel that my childhood experiences have had a big impact on me and I don't think I'm the only one, But few people tell their stories as Hidden Children.
At the beginning of the project, I realised that my past experiences had always influenced me and found that trying to tell my story was not easy.
So，I tried to reach out to people who had been through the same experience as I had, just to find out how they felt and to hear their voices.
In my past experiences, including interviews with people who have been through the similar experience as me, they have all felt abandoned by the world. Feeling like they were extra people in family. Most of them are girls who were perhaps abandoned, perhaps given away by their parents. I want to tell my story as a voice for myself and for those hidden children who have similar experiences as mine.
I wondered for a while if I was being cruel to tell those not so good memories. Even after the interviews, they told me that they no longer wanted to remember the past. But I also realised that as I told my own story, I was slowly finding answers. At the same time I read books about psychotherapy, maybe telling the stories and feelings that I had hidden was a process of self-transformation.