Doctor Yi Zhou is a rather peculiar doctor: in her pop-up Body Memory clinics, she receives patients in order to cast their fingers, noses, ears, breasts and even belly buttons. Before the procedure, each patient is invited to fill in a clinical record, then Doctor Zhou begins spreading a layer of resin on the body part and wraps it in a plaster bandage. This isn’t a check-up, it’s an artistic process.
An appointment becomes simply letting the doctor do her job—with a little wait time along the way. From each cast, a stunning piece of unconventional jewelry is produced and delivered in a quirky box that appears to be more likely from a kidnapper than a clinic.
Behind Body Memory’s alternative medicine the young talent Zhou—a graduate of Saint Martins College of Art and Design who came back to the capital to blend her design expertise with a home-bred sense of irony and a taste for playful experiences—taps a signature theme of many young Chinese creatives. Her work has been featured in various Chinese lifestyle magazines like Vision and iLook, and her projects have been showcased in several exhibitions including Get it Louder 2014 and the latest Beijing Design Week.
Zhou’s projects are drawn from daily life and, beyond her cheerful personality and fun approach to design, her primary focus is the connection between human relations and behavior. Body Memory’s starting point is the hypothesis that not only the brain, but the body itself is capable of storing memories—often with an even stronger link to our senses.
“The first time you meet someone, you may notice beautiful fingers or nice nose. Those first impressions might become a symbol in your mind for a particular person. In another case, when people have handshakes: right/left hands, the temperature of palm, the strength of grip, eye contacts, etc, may do as well. All those small facts contribute to our memories,” says Zhou. Hence her vision of creating cast models of body parts and converting them into accessories like necklace or brooches.
“Patients” can contact Doctor Zhou by email (y.zhou [at] yizhoudesign.com) to schedule an appointment or show up at one of her many pop-up events around town.
Images courtesy of Yi Zhou