“Can designed ritual help people understand a reliance on repeated behaviour to relieve anxiety?”
Yutian Zhang has designed a product and associated ritual to enable people to express their desires and their daily, repetitive, and slightly obsessive-compulsive behaviours in a positive way. Anaesthetic for Modern People explores the relationship between people and the products they buy against a background fast-changing and insecure society. With such anxiety in her own life, Zhang solution is a designed ritual using specific patterns and repetitive behaviors to improve wellbeing.
At first glance, her work shows a colorful and flashy silk ribbon. But a closer look at each product shows it represents a different time, drawing on Chinese metaphysical notions where seasons correspond to different times of the day. The product itself is pure white, reminiscent of a calming pill. People will perform such rituals at a predetermined time every day, which is like a kind of self-comfort and looking for an outlet for their anxiety. Zhang sees these rituals as closely linked to superstition: “In my view, superstition is like a wishing well. Everyone throws a coin into the well. Whether people believe it or not, people hope for fantasies”.