The Zone in History

Have you been to the zone yet? As a fan of Andrei Tarkovsky, especially his occult 1979 Stalker, my answer is a definite YES. In fact, in the past decade, I have visited the zone metaphorically, conceptually, and even physically. For Tarkovsky and his fans, of course, the zone is allegorical. However, in a more concrete sense, some of my recent published essays are also about the idea of the zone as a heterotopic

Lishui Photography Festival

My ongoing global Cold War series called Bifucated and Parallel Histories was invited to participate in China’s biannual Lishui Photography Festival in November 2019. Although the first exhibition of this series took place in Berlin in 2014, most images in this show came from my rather recent works. Located at the Lishui Art Museum–the main festival site–my show constituted part of the festival’s two core exhibitions. Overall, the festival hosted

Moving Images @ Contact 2019

My exibition Moving Images, Moving People is now on view @ 401 Richmond as part of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival. This is also the first exhibition of this body of work after more than 4 years of research and collaboration funded by The Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada (SSHRC), as well as 15 months of planning, curatorial design, and production. The exhibition is made up of illuminated

Lianzhou Update

Le Monde, the Paris-based daily, reports on the censorship problems in this year’s Lianzhou Foto Festival. They estimate that at least 10% of the approximately 2,000 photographs, including several of my photographs, were censored in the exhibition. I spoke briefly with an editor from the paper: Festival de photographie : en Chine, l’art mystérieux de la censure

Portable and Precarious

In the latest issue of Radical History Review that focuses on Photography and Work, my extended photo-essay, “Portable and Precarious: Life and Spectacle in China’s Construction Camps,” explores the relations betwen mobile cinema and the portable life of migrant workers inside China’s construction compounds. “[W]hereas shipping containers are transported between seaports and other logistic centers that are mostly devoid of humans, dormitory containers are packed with migrant bodies to be

Here and Now

Oftentimes, after I’ve posted an image on social media, people would ask me about its location, even though they did not necessarily have the desire to go there. Somehow, I suspect that that curiorsity is driven by our desire to place a scene to a specific place and therefore insulate it from “our” world. But the truth is that these scenes are all coming from a place called the Planet

A Site of Struggles

Zhangjiakou (张家口) has always been a strategic military pass that separates the Mongolian Gobi Desert and the North China Plain. Not surprisingly, dynastic regimes in the past always paid special attention to the sections of the Great Wall passing through the region, rebuilding and upgrading them frequently. Then, during the Sino-Japanese War, the Civil War, and the Cold War, new fortresses and bunkers were added alongside with the ancient war