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Based in New York, and born and raised in Tianjin, China, Yixuan Shao was trained as a classical violinist. Upon her immigration to the United States with her family at the age of 15, she began studying improvisation and jazz performance and later received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Composition at UC San Diego. She is a MFA candidate in Sound Art at Columbia University. 

Her musical background,  a mixture of composition and improvisation ----  two connected yet contradicting approaches to music making, urges her to be in constant dialogue with her audience while embracing accidental events in the process of art making. Her works are often open-ended,  or “guided untitled,” inviting the viewer to engage in conversations around the work itself with their own cultural and sociopolitical beliefs. She takes an interest in the longer effect of such a mode of communication, not only taking place in the exhibition/concert space, but also in day-to-day life. 

Primarily working in sound and visual arts, Yixuan’s artistic practice is one of listening, before it is one of making. She listens to the gaps in histories caused by cultural and environmental erasures ---- listening, not only as a physiological function, but also as an internal state of awareness to her surroundings. In her work, she materializes these gaps and center the dialogue around survival and preservation based on her research in the interconnected fields of history, biology and geology. She enacts material cultures to trace a non-hierarchical and nonlinear relationship between nature and culture, bodies and the environment, humans and machines. With constant reflections on the relationships between self and others from her own biology and identity, she challenges her reality about those structural and ideological divisions.


︎ nicolefaramita@gmail.com

︎ yixuanshaoart