I Would Like to Know You

I Would Like to Know You


10.09.2021 – 30.01.2022

Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moskau, Russland


Yingmei Duan and Snejana Krasteva

Interactive Online Performance

Behind the laconic presentation within the exhibition—a QR code which leads to an Instagram page set up by Duan Yingmei— is a durational process of communication to which the artist has committed herself for the entire length of the show, for at least an hour a day.

Anyone can write and appoint a date and time for a chat (via text, video or audio messages) through her page, where one can also see a growing album of images, videos and texts—her interpretations of the chat(s) she had the day before. 

She explains that during the pandemic isolation, online communication has gained many layers of complexity and is affecting us all in various ways. Often exploring the unpredictable domain of human relations in her performances and video installations, its psychic and subliminal undercurrents. In “I Would Like to Know You” Duan Yingmei highlights the deeply communicative nature of human experience.

In Duan’s early performances, all the way back to the iconic performances as part of the East Village in Beijing community of artists in the 1990s, she consistently employed less verbal and more bodily and spiritual forms of communication. A choice that is perhaps rooted in her experience as a child that has left a traumatic mark on Duan as her speech was partially impeded by the cleft palate she was born with.

True to her investigative practice in the depths of the human psyche, however, Yingmei Duan choses to spend five months talking, to share part of her time with the viewers as a form of curiosity, care and utmost attention.

Between 10th September 2021 and 30th January 2022 I took part in an exhibition called “Spirit Labor: Duration, Difficulty, and Affect”, held at the Garage Museum for Contemporary Art in Moscow.

Originally the curators planned the show in two parts. One was an exhibition for five months and the other was a big performance event for two months. However, because of COVID they had to cancel the performance, so I was invited to participate in the exhibition. 

All artworks were shown at the museum for five months, so I planned my artwork not only in the museum but also flying out of the museum and taking place in everyday life, interacting with people from different parts of the world on social media (Instagram).

Using social media to communicate isn’t new for me. Around 2006 I began to use Skype for my many international projects. Before I met my collaborators face to face, we chatted through Skype.

I am always interested in people from different parts of society and cultures. So my artwork in the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art was called “I Would Like to Know You”, for which a QR code was placed in a frame and put on the gallery wall. This was my only art work in the exhibition.

After people scanned the QR code, they could contact me directly. We made appointments, then we chatted online about their lives, work and living areas. These people were usually artists, students, art lovers, business people or working people and so on. Besides them, I also invited some friends of mine and some people who saw the QR code then contacted me.

In this performance I chatted to around 600 people from all over the world. Around 180 posts were made in five months. Each post contained around 10 photos or videos and text that was agreed on before posting.

Through the performance art project “I Would Like to Know You” I learned more about the audience and their lives, work, and cultural backgrounds. Since the exhibition was held in Moscow, most of the visitors were from Russia, so I learned more about the people living there and Russia as a country. This seemingly simple performance work was actually a lot of work. I sometimes worked about 17 hours a day.