The Last Picture Show

History was made (and buried) here. Without this secret uranium mine in Hunan Province, China would not be able to develope its first atomic and hydrogen bombs in the 1960s. Unsurprisingly, hundreds of workers sacrificed their lives due to industrial accidents and radioactive illness over the decades. Yet, their stories were little known to the outside world. When I finally visited the site after months of delay and procrastination, construction

Some random street shots

It is often said that the keys to understanding the future (and the past) are all around us. Here are some random shots that I made when I was doing photographic work in Zhangjiakou recently. These street scenes remind me of China a few decades ago. Yet, even in these small places, there are telling signs about China’s past, present, and future.

The Peasant Artist (農民藝術家)

Mr. 孙柏山 was once a migrant worker because he hoped to earn enough money to fulfill his dream of going to art school. Years later, he came back to this poor village in Hebei province after earning only two yuan (25 cents). Nevertheless, along the way, he managed to acquire a few auction catalogues featuring Song Dynasty (960-1279) paintings. And that was how his painting career began. Drawing inspirations from

Speculative Histories

In a photo-essay that seeks to bring “future-oriented fictions and urban-centred theories of China and India” together, historian Kavita Philip writes about my photos, along with those by Dipti Desai. “How might we think dialogically about the material geographies of China and India, while not overplaying the familiar comparative analytics of borders and populations, communism and democracy, economic and cultural difference? How might we think in the longue durée about

A Dialogue between Landscapes

Today is the last day of my exhibition at the Museum für Asiatische Kunst, one of Berlin’s state museums. This five month exhibition has been an innovative and experimential project in that my photographs of China’s post-socialist urban transformation are in dialogue with several traditional-style Chinese landscape paintings from the 1960s. Among other things, the exhibition shows contrasting landscapes, media forms, early/postsocialist modernity, and utopian/dystopian visions. Here are the links