Northy Chen

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About the Artist

Born in Zhoushan Island, Northy Chen currently lives in New York. She graduated from RISD and started the collective writing platform NERVEMILK with XY Feng.


WIFI-POET traces back to the short story I wrote for NERVEMILK. In the story, an organization called ‘WIFI-POET’ broadcasts poems through the lines of wireless network names by tampering with public routers. After writing the story, I have been haunted by the idea of setting up the organization for real. With the help of my good friend Edward, we debuted the first iteration of WIFI-POET at Basement 6, Shanghai in 2017.

Basement 6 is a former air-raid shelter in Shanghai in which cell reception is impossible. Through our proprietary router and editing interface, participants of the workshop assigned themselves pen-names and contributed to an ever-evolving poem comprised of Wi-Fi networks, by consistently naming and renaming them. Everyone is entitled to create, edit, and delete the lines.

In early 2019, I invited Shanghai-based design studio Related Department to materialize the outcome of the workshop into a physical volume. The WIFI-POET book encapsulates over 2000 lines of verse through the 4 hours of collective creation, accompanied with photographs and luminescent ink overlay for the first chapter.

I am curious how this peculiar anthology would be perceived. It can be seen as the documentation of a single evolving poem, or the compilation of a thousand unique poems. Of course, to some, it is probably a tome of nonsense.

WIFI-POET will continue to evolve. Find me via Wi-Fi for if you are interested in a conversation.

Spring of 2019


120 x 180 mm
228 pages
Luminescent Ink
Designed by Related Department
Published in 2019
Limited edition of 300