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Moving Image Design

Yuan Li

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".


ins: hucvee_0617


Show Location: Battersea campus: Studio Building, Ground floor

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".

Sound DesignerZheng Hao & Joseph Khan Electronic music computing & Technology, Goldsmiths, University of London
The recordings of the phone interviews include phone calls from Guiyang's mother and interviews with 3 people with similar experiences to me. These recordings were recorded as oral histories. Before that, the real occurrence of these stories was not known to outsiders, which is a very important part, and it also allows the audience to understand the stories other than me.

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.



  • The project is an attempt at frame-by-frame animation based on my own childhood story, in the form of an oral history. Telling the stories of individuals under the family planning policies of China in the last century. 



  • When I searched the internet for information about family planning, I found that I had a hard time finding information and news accounts about Hidden Children, and most of the discussion focused on the physical persecution of women and reproductive rights. I feel that my childhood experiences have had a big impact on me and I don't think I'm the only one, there are many people in China who have experienced the same thing as me, but I rarely hear their voices. I also hope that by telling my story, I can find people with similar experiences to mine and have the opportunity to speak out.


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