Prize Winner

The John Calcutt Critical Writing prize

Master of Fine Art School of Fine Art

Xiaoyu Xiong


About the Artist:

Xiaoyu (Sherry) Xiong is a China and the UK based artist, she holds an MA degree on Graphic Design and Art direction from Manchester School of Art, after that she participated in the art residence project in South of China funded by the British Council in 2021 starting her career as an artist. She is now graduating from the MFA program at Glasgow School of Art Which supported by CSC (China Scholarship Council). Xiaoyu’s creative mediums are programming and printmaking. The forms of works are mainly moving images, interactive installations and Screen-printing. Recently, the art practice mainly focuses on the subjective images of individuals behind art heritages, she prefers to based on the methodology of Everyday Life to use different materials which from the heritage sites to develop and extend the understandings and thinking. Her work “listen to her” (Interactive Moving images, 2021) won a GDC Gold Award and participated in the GDC global exhibition. The work was collected by Guan Shanyue Art Museum (Shenzhen) and appeared on the cover of Art and Design magazine. Recently, the moving image work “Glasgow in my Eyes” was shortlisted for the visual arts Scotland Century Exhibition.


About the work:

The artist use Words as a material to build her own world recently.

Words is not only generated within the human community but also emerges from the interplay and contact between the human community and the animate landscape, born of the dynamic relationship with the more-than-human world (Abram, 1996). Languages such as Gaelic, Chinese, Mongolian, Hindi, and others have actively or passively participated in the processes of historical and societal changes. Growth, death, and rebirth.  In this process of evolution, the expression of human thoughts, emotions, and feelings has passed through the creation of words, natural existence, and the laws of natural behaviour. This joint construction gives rise to both abstract and concrete social forms, with the social significance they generate contributing to the construction of new social structures and hierarchical configurations (Ghosh, 2006). At present, in the environments of both the United Kingdom and China, Gaelic is being revived, learning oracle bone inscriptions is becoming a popular trend, and various declarations and ideologies are seeping into publics’ everyday life. Words is gradually more become like a code; People cannot discern whether words are a means of perceiving the “real” world or if they have lost their inherent, non-arbitrary connection to that world (Abram, 1996). People lost in different words and sounds, unable to distinguish. Philosopher and ecologist Abram (1996) believes that words are living language, a way to dialogue with the world rather than explain the world. Art historian and archaeologist K.C.Chang (1983) believes that words and images are two powerful tools that people have used to seize power since ancient times. Philosopher Foucault (1989) believes that perception is a “never-said” discourse, and it cannot be expressed through words. And the body, as the subject of discourse, is also subject to the constraints of language. (Hingis, 1994) In total, it is undeniable that from the distant past to the present, although the forms of words have evolved, the profound influence of their underlying symbols remains evident (Ferrara, 2022). Words are theirselves power, which worth to be explored again and again (Bourdieu,1991).

Personal Website
Project Website
DNA mirror
1 Question ⋅ 20 People ⋅ 20 Glasgow ⋅ 20 World
Where_is_语言_مرضی_nehmen 나? 

Title: Where_is_语言_مرضی_nehmen 나? 1

Title: Where_is_语言_مرضی_nehmen 나? 2

Title: Where_is_语言_مرضی_nehmen 나? 3

DNA mirror

Interactive moving image, Size: 75 x 45 cm 

This work represents the third stage of my exploration into the relationship between text and power—text and the body. Archaeologist Zhang Guangzhi suggests that from the very day of its inception, language has carried the weight of human power and desire. As language evolves and expands, it not only defines the environment around us but also gradually delineates every cell of the human body. How will the four letters “ACGT,” which decode genes, control our bodies? Is human perception still beyond the reach of power mechanisms?


DNA mirror

For Sale: 2000


1 Question ⋅ 20 People ⋅ 20 Glasgow ⋅ 20 World

Material:  Various materials ( Video: 25.10mins, Photographic paper print: 21 x 21 cm each, 20 total, Interactive screen: 42.5 x 25cm) 

This work is a social intervention practice developed based on my ongoing work my word my world. In this work, I interviewed 20 people about their views on Glasgow, and drew them through my text-based installation. Interestingly, after I asked “how do you feel glasgow?”, some people began to recall their own stories about Glasgow, and then successfully wrote their own “glasgow” in my interactive installation, and some people began to reminisce. What I saw in Glasgow, the unhappy faces on the street, most of these people are studying music, maybe it’s a coincidence. There are also some people who appear sluggish when I ask them to interact with my installation, because in conversations with them, their thinking is particularly rational and objective, and they are slow to respond to emotional feelings, or even unable to start. By interacting with my work and others, I see 20 completely unique worlds. This work carries the memories of 21 people. It is a work that I read with my mouth raised every time. It always reminds me of those fleeting emotions in contemporary society where I am in a hurry.

Someone asked me why I want to create my own text. Isn’t it more convenient to use current text? My intention is not to replace existing words with the words I create, but to visually illustrate the manipulation of social power systems over the environment and people by showing the evolution of words. And it brings people’s perception that is hidden behind the logic to the public’s eyes, awakening the body’s perception of the surrounding environment.


For Sale: 2000

words creation by public

Photographic paper printing

Interactive installation

touch screen

Print work

Degree show

Degree show exhibition

Where_is_语言_مرضی_nehmen 나? 

The background of the film:

Abram (Abram, 1996:66) claims that “with the advent of the aleph-beth in Greek, a new distance opens between human culture and the rest of nature.” In the East, Linguistic scholar of the Eastern and Chinese period Xu Shen in the book of Shuowen Jiezi mentions that logographic characters were transformed through methods such as “transference” and “borrowing,” similar to rebus, where only the sound of the logographic character was retained while discarding its meaning(Tang, 2020). Humanity boasts that the invention and standardised development of writing broke the knowledge monopoly and elevated social status held by refined literati, enabling everyone, even children, to quickly grasp the simplified script evolved from logographic characters. Whether in Eastern or Western civilisations, after the phonemicisation and rebus transformations of words, “each image now came to have a strictly human referent: each letter was now associated purely with a gesture or sound of the human mouth. Such image could no longer function as windows opening onto a more-than-human field of powers, but solely as mirrors reflecting the human form back upon itself.” (Abram, 1996:86) The sensory engagement with the new script becomes confined within the human-created discourse system, gradually rendering individuals mere cogs in the operational machinery of the civic world, incessantly spinning. Until our senses habitually perceive the primal language as a transparent replica of the universe, attributing power to the lion’s body, authority to the eagle’s eye… (Foucault, 1983). Our perceptual system gradually shuts down, preparing the body to become a mere chess piece.


About the structure of the film:

The film consists of three sections, each composed of gradient landscapes made up of various texts. to visually illustrate the manipulation of social power systems over the environment and people by showing the evolution of words. And it brings people’s perception that is hidden behind the logic to the public’s eyes, awakening the body’s perception of the surrounding environment.The first section is composed of Gaelic text. The images are collected from the Scottish Highlands, Glasgow, and the surrounding areas. The sounds are collected from nature, including the wind, flowing water, and bird songs.
The second section is composed of English text. The images are collected from factories and ships during the Industrial Revolution. For the sounds, I imitated the sounds of hammering iron and machinery at work.
The third section is composed of texts in English, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Urdu, German, and other languages. The images are composed of Glasgow’s contemporary architecture, universities, traffic, and people. The sounds come from electronic technology and vehicles.


Where_is_语言_مرضی_nehmen 나? 

For Sale: 2000


148.5 * 420 mm
For Sale: 100

screenprinting 2

148.5 * 420 mm
For Sale: 100

screenprinting 3

148.5 * 420 mm
For Sale: 100