Site Overlay


Manchurian Fragment

In this peculiar land, historically referred to as “Manchuria” while now commonly mentioned as “the Northeast”, a few centuries have witnessed the vicissitudes of the Qing Dynasty, the beginning of the most humiliating national memories throughout China’s history, and the disasters and failure recently caused by the massive privatization, all of which leave graven marks of various kinds on the earth. These inscriptions, visible and invisible, are unceasingly evoking a nostalgia for lost futures, i.e. melancholy or sentimental memories of the ancien régime and collective imaginations. Yet beyond these reminiscences and visions, the reality of life in this land has been expelled and disremembered. The Northeast has merely become semiotic instruments for a morbid narcissistic posture disguised as a grand narrative, and even the people of the Northeast are often incorporated into fixed repertoire and roles by the media and popular culture. Experiencing these images that are virtually not “Northeast” but apparently “Northeast”, as a “Northeast”, I nevertheless seem to be living somewhere else. This “big other” shown in my work is not only an effort to break stereotypes, but it is also more like a “besieged city”, in that my attempt puts these “somewhere else” in the danger of alienation into the spectacles. Thus, it is paradoxical but is a well-intended outcome that the contradiction here is the most faithful and realistic representation of the mortification and tension that “Northeast” and “Northeast people” are suffering.