Chinese Playground

A series of digital photographs, inkjet print, 25 x 39 inches, 2005 - 2010


Artist's Statement

The camera turns into a weapon, a third eye and a secret device recording events that I am not aware of in the particular moment of time.

In 1976, when I was three years old, the Chinese Cultural Revolution ended. Two years later, our family left China. Since 2004, I have visited China every year in December. During each trip, I spend a month living in the southern city, Guangzhou, where I was born. The propaganda films, national songs and loud voices from speakerphones that characterized my childhood are gone. Instead, Western influences are now implanting hip hop culture among Chinese youth, yuppie culture among young professionals, Internet culture and a new sense of fashion. However, the details of Chinese living stay the same — layers of dirt and dust lie on every object and surface, trash lies in the street, layers of posters and words cover surfaces, broken windows, rusted doors and unfinished painted walls make up buildings and people nimbly respond to everchanging government policies.

In this series of photographs, the aesthetics of grids are utilized as metaphors to examine individualism as reconstructed and intertwined with infrastructures of contemporary culture. Game playing is conceptually appropriated as a way to signify ways in which individuality is connected with cultural dynamics. What happens when the structure of the game falls apart? During the in between moments, when the physical body waits for instructions from authority, subconscious gestures are sublime and uniquely beautiful.

Return to Work

Continue Viewing: #1: Didactic Intervals

Continue Viewing: #2: Measure of Things

Continue Viewing: #3: Beyond the Wall