Still from Diagnosia

Sound Art Alumni Mengtai Zhang '19 and Lemon Guo '18 Collaborate on 'Diagnosia'

BY Catherine Fisher, November 24, 2021

Mengtai Zhang ‘19 and Lemon Guo ‘18 collaborated on Diagnosia, a virtual reality experience running at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam from November 17 to 28, 2021. 


This ambitious new work explores VR as a potential tool for transplanting secondhand memories. In this way, the piece aims to connect the audience to political and social questions by way of sensorial immersion. Diagnosia portrays Zhang’s memories of incarceration in a military operated Internet addiction camp in Beijing in 2007. This and other mental health issues were treated by sometimes violent means. By tracing the idea of “Internet addiction” in China’s cultural context, the work discusses how societies can create or manifest pathologies as a tool for social control.


Zhang was born in China and currently lives in New York. Employing sculpture, sound, and video, his works create ambivalent allegories of power, where personal and sociopolitical factors encounter each other. Zhang’s works have been presented at Times Art Museum (Beijing, China), NYFW-Hot Now China, MOCA SJZ (Shijiazhuang, China), Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture (Shenzhen, China), New Interfaces for Musical Expression (Virginia Tech, US), International Computer Music Conference (Daegu, Korea), Sound and Music Computing (Espoo, Finland), SNAP (Shanghai, China), Handshake 302 (Shenzhen, China), Space Heater Gallery, Issue Project Room, ChaShaMa, Humble Arts Foundation, Mise_en_PLACE, and Fridman Gallery in New York among other locations.


Lemon Guo is an interdisciplinary sound artist, composer, and vocalist from China. With a background in Chinese folk music and social psychology, Lemon holds an MFA in Sound Art from Columbia University and a BA in composition from the University of Virginia. Drawing from environmental data and ethnomusicological research, her recent works often create intimate yet distant listening situations that fluctuate between experimental music, installations, immersive theater, and a utopian folk choir. Lemon has performed and exhibited her works at Rubin Museum of Art, Katonah Museum of Art, Issue Project Room, Fridman Gallery, Ambient Church, 3-Legged Dog Art & Technology Center, EcoSono Festival of Environmental Music and Sound Art, New Interface for Musical Expression (US), BBC Radio 3, BBC Sounds, the Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Resonance FM (UK), International Computer Music Conference (Korea), Chronus Arts Center, and Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture (China) among other locations.