2022 Grad Show

Tong Huang

AUArts Grad Show WechatIMG110 1

Media Arts


My work predominantly focuses on the societal pressures from Chinese Parents. How my parents exert pressure on me due to the influence of society is an area of interest to me. When I make video installations and digital animation, I invite the viewer to walk into the space; the contents or associative images of the works impact the work’s relationship with the viewer.

“Parents’ Conversation” 2021 is digital animation showing a person walking underneath moving speech bubbles containing text. The text is spoken by my parents in the accompanying audio. As the person is walking, more speech bubbles appear, and all these words become part of her head; in the end, because the body could not bear the heavy head, she falls, and her head explodes. And at the same time, the yellow line passes through the wall and builds a visual jail. In the end, I repeat, “Everyone can do it, so you also need to do it.”. The text and audio revolve around the pressure and expectations of professionalism and wealth by my parents. The video is concerned with unrealistic societal expectations within a crowded capitalistic world. According to Chinese philosopher Confucius, Confucianism speaks of filial piety, a virtue to respect parents and elders, which led me to understand why Chinese people tended to follow their parents' decisions and arrangements. Involution demonstrates the current state of Chinese society, which is that competition begins at birth, and I was able to understand why Chinese parents have high expectations for their children because of this reality.

“Magnet relationship” is a video installation I made in 2022. A video is projected on the wall and the plinth depicting a dialogue between two figures with words on them. And there are two magnets, one is on the plinth, and the other is hanging from the ceiling, right above the one on the plinth. The video starts from the red figure from the right bottom, which represents my parents, then the blue figure, which represents me, appears from the left. The words on the figures show the conversation about the divergence about my future and the reason they like to overprotect me with my parents. In the end, I agree and accept their arrangement, and then the blue figure fades away, and the red figure overwhelms the whole wall and the plinth. This project also relates to Confucianism’s virtue of filial piety, and this causes me inclined to compromise with my parents.

My works aim to explain that China has a very competitive culture, and as a result of Chinese traditions and customs, it is natural for every parent to want their children to listen to them and achieve success.


I had a serious discussion with my parents about how they consider Chinese society and issues of expectation. They commented on sociology and economics and told me about what happened in the 1970s; it was the time of opening up and reform. It actively introduced foreign capital and technology to promote economic growth while maintaining socialism. Certain levels of economic, cultural, and political liberalization gave people the right to think and make choices. Later in life, my parents moved from the countryside to Shanghai in the 1990s, which contributed to developing my parents’ current values, outlook on life, and worldview, which indirectly influenced me, especially my view of Chinese society and understanding of parental expectations