Qianqian Ye’s “Braiding Rage 怒辫” is a series of 100 unique renderings of procedurally-generated braid sculptures, foregrounding the artist’s intimate relationship with code and spatial expression. The braid is an ongoing and complex motif in Ye’s work. A braid of submarine fiber optic cables are the life source for a binary-defying hybrid “goddexx” that represents interconnection across the vast distance of the Pacific Ocean in the artist’s 3D artwork “A.A.G.” In their collaborative augmented reality altar “Entangled,” the artist uses the braid to pay homage to “Self-Comb Women” (自梳女, ZìShūNǚ), a proto-feminist tribe of women who demonstrated their commitment to independence over marriage by rolling their braids into a chignon (by custom, a married women’s hairstyle).
Artmaking is always an act of self-portraiture, but “Braiding Rage 怒辫” directly grapples with raw emotion, using the occasion of the “sketch” to channel a more candid self-portraiture through digital art. Ye writes, “In each iteration, the braids become an outlet for the rage I often withhold. The strands of dark hair grow, flow, braid, whip, twist, tangle, coil, and weave with their own will. As the braver and louder version of me, the braids rant like nothing is left to be afraid of. In each rendering I ask: ‘Where are the braids going next? What do they want?’”