This is an unpublished project premiered today on C41 Magazine.
Born in China in 1997, Tianqi found herself spending the majority of her adolescent years growing up in southwest England. In 2015, she threw herself across the ocean once again to continue her higher education in the United States. Although her earlier photographic endeavors were mostly black and white, her vision soon took a turn with inspiration from artists well-celebrated for their use of color such as David Hockney, Alex Webb and Martin Parr, appreciating their varying connotations.
Having graduated recently from New York University with a Bachelor’s in both Journalism and Media, Culture & Communications, the photographer is currently associated with the Bronx Documentary Center while pursuing individual long term projects alongside her career.
About ‘Utopian Visions’ – words by Tianqi Liao:
Coined by Thomas More 500 years ago, the concept of “utopia” has undergone several layers of transformations as society progressed and dominant ideologies gradually shifted with time. Yet, at its core, it remains as a state that eliminates manifestations of impurity to offer an ideal and copious landscape. While my interest towards this subject was born out of a perpetual desire for perfectionism, this project is not an attempt to embrace personal yearnings. Perhaps somewhat similar to a work of literature or even a sociological theory that seeks to delineate what a utopia constitutes. This photography project draws on the interdisciplinary fields to satirize the radicalized expressions of utopianism.
Given any utopia’s powers to rebrand existing human behaviors, this project also addresses how idealistic visions can quickly escalate into dystopian ones and that such preferred realities are mere facades susceptible to individual differences or the basic instincts of self-preservation. In short, “Utopian Visions” is a series of picture-perfect representations that explore the concept of “utopianism” using the photographic medium.