Public Programming


Asymmetry, 102a Albion Drive, London E8 4LY
6-7.30PM, 15.12.2023

'Topography of Decay’ is a multi-part programme series comprising of a self-published zine and artist book, a panel discussion, and open library sessions on the themes of queer ecology, geotrauma, and risk capitalism. The programme brings together artist and educator Shuyi Cao, our alumnus Hang Li, the inaugural Curatorial Writing Fellow at Chisenhale Gallery, and our Goldsmiths PhD Scholar Yuhang Zhang. Through drawing, storytelling, artist-book making, 'Topography of Decay' conjures up ways in which deadly matters intersect with a world conditioned by capitalism and dark ecology.

Sensing a looming breakdown in the natural, cultural and psychological realms, the programme aims to create space for different modes of sense-making amongst more-than-human beings by thinking with skins, swells, wastes, and residuals in the interlacing areas of metabolism, infiltration, death, and longing. Making multi-medium sculptures as speculative fossils to contemplate prehistoric futurity, Shuyi Cao contemplates ways of world-making that unravel monstrous intimacy and queer kinship across a myriad of networked life forms and incompatible scales. Exploring storytelling as an embodied practice, Hang Li works with trauma and affective intensities as inter-corporeal residuals that seep and bleed across psychological territories of human and non-human beings. Yuhang Zhang fictionally traces a thread to the dark history of universal degradation, decay, and conspiracy. At the core of the project is a fundamental question: in face of the horror of an impending extinction stretching to deep time, how do we situate ourselves in the all-too-human conditions of everyday attachment and struggles?

Please join us for a panel discussion where the collaborators will share their respective research and practices, unentangling relevant threads around queer ecological thinking, gothic materialism, and posthumanist discourses. The panel will be hosted by Hang Li and Yuhang Zhang in person, and joined by Shuyi Cao on Zoom. Copies of the zine, 'Topography of Decay,' will be distributed to the audience at the event.

Casual festive drinks will follow the panel discussion.



Session One: ‘Infiltration: the Moving Locus of Breakdown’, 1-5PM, 8.12.2023

Session Two: ‘Infection: the Secret Pact with all Beings’, 1-5PM, 13.12.2023

Complementing the panel discussion will be two open library sessions, where Hang Li and Yuhang Zhang will present and share the myriad writings, diagrams, and research visuals comprising the zine ‘Topography of Decay’ made by the research collective (Cao, Li, and Zhang), along with reference literature, visual display, and printed matters drawn from our library.



Shuyi Cao is a New York-based artist whose practice explores alchemical approaches to material, matter and knowledge osmosis. Through archeological speculation and ecological fiction, she contemplates the porous plurality of relations between sciences, technocultures, and cosmologies. She is a visiting assistant professor at Pratt Institute and founder of Transmaterial Lab, faculty at The New School, alumni of NEW INC New Museum. She received a Bachelor of Laws, an M.A. in Public Administration from Fudan University, and an M.F.A. in Fine Arts from Parsons School of Design.

Hang Li is a researcher based in London and Beijing. Working across curating, writing, drawing, and moving images, they focus on co-working as epistemic practices across natural culture and science and technology. Their practice weaves identity, collectivity, and non-human senses into storytelling, questioning what ethics might sound like when trauma, affinity, and tension mingle into trans-local senses of viscosity and distance. They are a PhD candidate at the School of Arts and Humanities, Royal College of Art (RCA). They graduated from the Bartlett, University College London with a MArch in Architecture Design followed by an MA in Curating Contemporary Art from the RCA. Hang Li is the Inaugural Asymmetry Curatorial Writing Fellow at Chisenhale Gallery.

Yuhang Zhang is a writer and critic based in London. He is currently an Asymmetry Ph.D. Scholar in 'Advanced Practices' at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he also earned an MA in Contemporary Art Theory. With Xingyun Wang and Chu Zhou, he co-initiated Djinn Puddle, an online Theory Fiction project. In 2021, he co-curated The Pineal Eye, a research-based exhibition project supported by Goethe-Institut Peking. Yuhang has contributed reviews and fiction writings to Qilu Criticism, Daoju, Kua, and other publications. His latest project, a theory-fiction of archives, unsolved murder cases, and the logistics landscape in East Asia, is set to be published in late 2023.