Mental Space, 2021

Yingke Wang

Smith College​

Mental Space is a series of works that showcases how people’s mental area is limited by their physical environment, particularly in big cities in China. In Shanghai, for instance, the average monthly salary for graduates is between 6k - 8k CNY, while the rent for a one-bedroom apartment is typically around 5k CNY. Most people cannot afford rent costing more than half of their salary, so flat sharing with strangers is a popular choice in big cities. While living in a narrow space with others, these people must change their lifestyles and restrict some habits. When going to the bathroom for a shower, for instance, they cannot dress too casually. They must also share the refrigerator with others, which requires them to remain aware of what is theirs and what is not. Such constricted space makes these living environments feel less like home, increasing a sense of personal displacement. Through Mental Space, I depict such a situation, using spatial narration to create the impression of the distress that can arise in these limited spaces.