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2018

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.

“东北”——这片历史上曾被称为“满洲”的土地,几个世纪见证的清帝国的兴衰变迁,承载的中国历史上最屈辱的一段民族记忆,以及刚刚经历过的大规模私有化导致的灾难与失落,所有这些都在这片土地上留下了各种形态的痕记。这些或可见或不可见的痕迹正在持续唤起各种或怀旧或感伤的历史记忆和社会想象。但在这些记忆和想象之外,这片土地上实存的生活图景却被排除和遗忘了。“东北”单纯成为了一种伪装为宏大叙事的病态自恋的符号工具,甚至“东北人”也往往被媒体和大众文化编入固定的剧目和角色。看到这些不像“东北”却明明是“东北”的图像时,作为“东北人”的我也似乎“生活在别处”。这种“别处”不仅仅是一种打破刻板印象的努力,它更像是一个“围城”,因为对这些图像的展示又使得这些“别处”陷入了异化为景观的危险。但这矛盾才正是“东北”与“东北人”正在承受的尴尬与张力的最佳写照。