‘homesick’ by YUUE design studio

“homesickness” by YUUE: on deprivation of liberty in China

Design studio YUUE’s ‘Homesick’ is a social commentary on China’s extreme Covid-19 prevention strategies that have led to an unnecessary humanitarian crisis, depriving citizens of their freedom. Since the outbreak, progressive anti-virus measures known as the “Zero-Covid Policy” have swept across the country and invaded everyone’s lives: ubiquitous use of health codes, exhaustive contact tracing, border closures, testing and forced quarantines, city lockdowns and fencing off residential buildings.

Anti-virus campaigns like these not only deprive citizens of freedom, but also completely isolate the country from the rest of the world, making it unrecognizable,” says the studio.

In response to the dire situation, Weng Xinyu, founder of YUUE, repurposed the white hazmat suit with blue ribbons using a chair and a vase – creating a living metaphor that silently comments on the absurd reality of the country in design form.

YUUE reused the hazmat suit by wrapping it around symbolic Chinese objects

wrap symbolic items with the ‘oppressive’ hazmat suit

YUUE (see more here) chose a Ming-style chair and a traditional Chinese porcelain vase as cultural symbols and wrapped them tightly in a tailored protective suit. For Xinyu, the project is close to home; as a German citizen of Chinese descent, he cannot visit his family during the pandemic. Homesickness and resentment therefore began to feed on each other, causing him to translate these emotions into an absurd design.

Ultimately, ‘homesickness’ criticizes how the act of ‘protection’ has become a new ‘risk’ within current politics. When the virus itself can be eliminated with simpler and more effective means, insisting on the use of an airtight protective suit becomes unnecessary, if not extreme. ‘At this time, the essential is replaced by the excessive, and the person to be protected loses its importance,’ concludes YUUE.

homesickness yuue practices design as social commentary 2

homesickness yuue practices design as social commentary 3
image © Joshua Jara

Joseph E. Golightly