Category Archives: Publication, Exhibition & Media

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 lightboxes, 4K video installations, archival footage, and historical artifacts. Among the newly finished videos is City as Media (2019), which does not only pay tribute to dystopian SCI-FI films Blade Runner (1982) and The Matrix (1999), but also engages questions of changing media technology and the emergence of the so-called Tech Cold War.

Also posted in China Tagged , , , , |

Moving Images, Moving People

Posters for my upcoming exhibition in this year’s Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival and the related talk + roundtable event.

Also posted in China Tagged , , , , |

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

Also posted in China, Ruins Tagged , |

The Theater of War

My solo exhibtion The Theater of War will open on December 1 as part of the 2018 Lianzhou Foto Festival. The exhibition draws on my ongoing investigation of the relation between aesthetics and military violence, nuclear fallout, and Cold War ruins.

In his treatise On War published nearly two centuries ago, the Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz deploys the idea of the “Theater of War” to analyze warfare. By the twentieth century, this concept has emerged as a common Western military expression. However, the idea of the theater of war is also an accurate description of war preparation, drills, and even civil defense. From the Cold War arms race to the Gulf Wars, the two military superpowers–the United States and the Soviet Union–often used their restricted military zones to simulate the enemy territories for training and weapon testing. Meanwhile, dramatic scenes of devastation by the enemy were also used in civil defense. In other words, even without a real war, the hostile landscape associated with the enemy had already arrived in one’s own territory. Moreover, these fictional scenes tended to normalize the anxiety, fear, and violence brought about by war, and hence greatly increased the possibility of disasters. Thus, even if the war of mutual annihilation did not occur, many military bases and cities built for war preparation had already become victims. Today, the sense of ruination and desolation is evident in these still active simulated battlefields, abandoned weapons testing sites and related military bases, as well as cities and farmlands destroyed in the process. As if the worst nightmare of war has indeed come true, these devastated scenes resemble that of the post-apocalyptic world.

Also posted in Ruins Tagged , , |

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 disciplined, exploited, and recuperated. In short, far from being the abstract imagery of capital, these are palpable and yet hidden landscapes of extraction…”

 

Also posted in China Tagged , , , , |

Japan Lost and Found

We like to imagine Japan as a clean and technologically savvy society. Yet, little known to the outside world is a burgeoning subculture of visiting abandoned factories, mines, theme parks, and resorts that have been left behind by Japan’s bubble economy or the so-called “Lost Decade” of the 1990s. How do we make sense of this “haikyo mania” (ruin mania) practiced by Japanese ruins aficionados? My book chapter, “Japan Lost and Found: Modern Ruins as Debris of the Economic Miracle,” in the newly published Introducing Japanese Popular Culture (edited by Alisa Freedman and Toby Slade) examines this local phenomenon in a wider global context.

20% discount available – enter the code FLR40 at checkout

www.routledge.com/9781138852105

Also posted in Ruins Tagged , , , |

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 Asian urban and rural change without being overly formalist about theories of development?” >>> READ MORE >>>

China India cover

Science of Giants: China and India in the Twentieth Century (Volume 1, 2016)

Also posted in China Tagged , , , , |

Cities in Ruins

UofT Magazine features my research and artistic practices. >>> READ MORE >>>

D8J_1933

Also posted in China, Ruins Tagged , |

Old Walls, New Surveillance, and Global Anxieties

The ruins of this advanced warning radar station make us think of another Cold War ruins seven thousand kilometers away… >>> READ MORE >>>

D8J_1128

D8J_1304

Also posted in China, Ruins Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

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 respectively to the exhibition website and a write-up by the Munk School.

DFXT7864

DFXT7884

Also posted in China Tagged , , , , , , , , , , |