Li Yao, currently based in Chicago, is a VR/XR artist, a designer, and an organizer for new media art events. Li’s work addresses how our perceptions of reality are shaped, both by the architecture we inhabit, as well as the interfaces we connect to. Li’s recent on-going project, Perfect Melon, in collaboration with Jas Brooks and Gabby Luu, is a VR installation and performance that incarnates a fictional corporation. The purchase of a company-produced soft drink initiates membership into a consumer community cultivated and entirely mediated by the corporation. Li has exhibited in various venues including Altered Festival, The Wrong Biennale, Ars Electronica, and Mykono Multimedia Festival. He received his MFA in Art and Technology Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2018, and his BFA in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in 2016.


Water Flows Through My Closet (2021--2022)
Ai-generative project exploring bathroom experience

Keywords: Water, Toilet & Plumbing, Prints


Peeing. Online. Together ( On-going ):
Collective Urination on Clubhouse

Keywords: Water, Toilet & Plumbing, Event

Perfect Melon ( On-going ):
VR multisensorial Performance
Keywords: Water, Doomsday, Performance, Event, Virtual Environment, Installation

Swim ( On-going ):
VR project on swimmer, and swimming pool

Keywords: Water, Toilet & Plumbing, Internationality, Animation, Virtual Environment

Unpruned Tree, Exhausted ( 2021 )
Digital painting of an unpruned tree

Keywords: Painting

( At Least ) Three Ways of Seeing Anxiety In China ( 2021 )
Poster for Dr. Jennifer D. Lee’s Tenure Review Presentation

Keywords: Graphic Design


Commiserate Chicago ( 2019- 2020 ) :
New media art festival
Keywords: Collaboration, Event, Graphic Design

World Class/Happy Daze ( 2020 ) :
Poster design for faculty lecture with Jennifer D. Lee and Jennifer N. Kidwell

Keyword: Event, Prints, Graphic Design


Bunker ( 2016- 2018 ) :
VR installation on Cold War architectures and modernity’s paradox.

Keywords: Doomsday, Virtual Environment, Installation, Prints

Interplanetary Soul ( Yo Love’s Got Me ) ( 2018 ) :
Collaboration with Chicago Funkadelic Musician Andre Gibson.

Keywords: Collaboration, Animation

Westwold Needs Asia ( 2018 ) :
Poster design for Jennifer D. Lee’s Penultimate Review Presentation

Keywords: Event, Prints, Graphic Design

Live: Lu Yang Master Exorcism ( 2018 ) :
Poster design for Lu Yang’s artist talk at SAIC

Keywords: Event, Prints, Graphic Design


Swimming Lessons ( 2017 ) :
Animation made in the VR experience of Swim to protest my frustration with Unity’s navigation agent and the pre-screening angst

Keywords: Water, Animation, Virtual Environment


My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?
( 2016 )
Time-based installation on familial obligation

Keywords: Water, Domesticity, Installation, Sculpture

Work It ( 2016 ) :
Hourly performance on artistic labor and the futility of studio practice

Keywords: Performance, Prints

Hallway ( 2016 ) :
First Unity project of a surrealist dreamscape

Keywords: Domesticity, Virtual Environment

Journey Under the Midnight Sun ( 2016 ):
Video of an exhausting walk

Keywords: Video


Red Oil Wontons ( 2015 ) :
Serial glitch prints and installation on food and lingual translation

Keywords: Internationality, Installation, Prints

Warden/ Prisoner ( 2015 ) :
Video installation and architectural study on toilets

Keywords:  Water, Toilet & Plumbing, Video, Installation, Sculpture 

Morse Code Painting series ( 2015 ) :
Abstract oil paintings embeded with Morse code messages

Keywords: Painting, Video  

Hell Screen ( 2015 ) :
Neon light Installation prototype inspired by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa‘s short story, Hell Screen ( a.k.a 地獄変 Jigokuhen )

Keywords: Domesticity, Installation, Sculpture

Unknown ( 2015 ) :
Video experiement

Keywords: Video

Collages series ( 2015 ):
Digital collages made on iPhone

Keywords: Prints, Graphic Design


SUSPENSION ( 2014 ) :
Mixed media installation on surveillance in the domestic environment

Keywords: Domesticity, Video, Installation, Sculpture

Debate Before the Noose ( 2014 ) :
Oil painting on the denial of death

Keywords: Painting

2014 and before

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