Runtao Xiao


Class of: 2024

Major: Strategic Design and Management BBA

Medium: Collage, drawing

Faculty: Katerina Lanfranco

Prompt: This project is a Symbolic Self-Portrait combining photoshop and hand-drawn elements. It reflects some aspect of me, my life, my feelings, my biography, my beliefs, etc. It is a realistic self-portraiture that has been transformed.

For this project, I turned myself into a robot. Every part of this robot is selected. Whether it is my eyes, lip color, or my thoughts. Behind me are various data cables. These cables represent the thoughts I have poured into my head. I like to think of myself as a robot. Because I like to absorb external things like a machine and compress them in my body. My thoughts are based on analyzing this information and summarizing it. My life creed is also strange. I like to use a sense of crisis as my driving force. I will always think of the worst result. This way, I can work hard to prevent this from ending from happening. So there is a knife behind my head. Only this knife can let me move forward with peace of mind. This is why I chose robots as a carrier. The robot has no other emotions. Its only weakness is energy exhaustion. So I am like a robot, with only crisis awareness. I used different materials to collage the body of the robot. Connected to my head. The picture’s various appearance choices mean that what I show is only the side I want to show to everyone. The gorgeous room in the background and the scene outside the window is inspired by my favorite collage artist Martha Rosler. Martha’s work likes to contrast beautiful scenes with the cruelty of war and present a harmonious but strange picture. I chose work by Martha and recreated it. I stay in a gorgeous home in the picture, but I can only feel at ease when I see people fleeing outside the window.