The best practice in revealing the manipulation of digital consumerism,
presented by Annie Chen Ziyao
Coming from China, Annie Chen Ziyao is pleased to introduce her latest project Ms. Meta Meta in Failings, a group exhibition presented by Ejecta Projects. Failings typically represent negative shortcomings such as a moral deficit, a material miscalculation or one’s failure, according to Annie. But the success of a studio’s practice could be achieved through taking the potential risks to redefine the conceptual boundaries and creativity. This exhibition considers how failure is perceived and successfully reflected in videos, drawings, paintings, etc.
Annie believes that beauty standards should not be defined by the Internet. With the number of beauty bloggers and influencers’ increase, they’re simultaneously recognized as the trend that should be followed. And there have been various cosmetic and plastic surgery treatments popping up all over the place in the past few years.
“This is just not right. We should be the ones to determine who we are. Blindly chasing after these so-called “trends” will actually do harm to us,” Annie pointed out, “Whatever people are going after is a product developed under this digital big data era. This passively formed pattern is making us ‘have to’ accept it and that’s why I created Ms. Meta Meta.”
Ms. Meta Meta is a series of satirical videos made in the style of trendy YouTube video tutorials led by Annie’s sassy social media alter ego, Ms. Meta Meta. This main character is promoting a facial cream that could lead to acne marks and pits, which are the only beauty standard in this virtual utopia, by imitating those youtubers and beauty bloggers in a sarcastic manner. The videos also include a skincare daily routine and an interview in which Ms. Meta Meta reacts to people’s skepticism about her aesthetic principles.
Annie questioned the long-held beauty standards and promoted the idea of just being the way you are is perfect through this project. Ms. Meta Meta critiques digital consumerism and harmful global beauty standards by adopting the language of the beauty industry and its promises of perfection in the form of digital beauty filters and image manipulation by subverting the very notions of beauty and beauty routines conducted by social media influencers.
“We, especially us girls, need to understand that flaws are priceless themselves,” Annie said, “Because this is what differentiates us. This is what makes us beautiful and unique. I want people to rethink if it is something they want indeed after they watch Ms. Meta Meta.”
Ms. Meta Meta took part in the exhibition held by Ejecta Projects, a non-profit organization of artists that explores the artworks because of frustration or failure while creating. Annie thinks this project represents a failing concept which portrays an illusion of beauty and deliberately made the special effects on the green screen in an imperfect way to de-emphasize this characteristic.
Annie has been concentrating on the relationship between the social environment and human beings, which is reflected in all her works that discuss identity and self-awareness. Graduating from School of Visual Arts, Annie is professionally skilled in photography and videography. It is expected that she would continue to bring more valuable creation into the eyes of the public in the future.