The First Line of China Project (Ongoing)
The First Line of China is an ongoing project launched in 2017. Currently, it consists of three sections:
1) a series of photo juxtapositions named “Sheep Pen Town” (2017);
2) a photobook “Zhong Guo Di Yi Xian” (2018);
3) a film entitled “The First Line of China” (2019).
Each component is related by subject matter: an isolated industrial town attached to a local state-owned cement factory in Northeast China. I was born in this town and haven’t returned for almost two decades.
Throughout each section, I present and examine the current status of this area while discussing multiple topics, especially the relationship between images and memory.
The title is a phrase encountered during the process of developing the work. This grand-sounding phrase has a certain connotation for the local people, which functions as an uncommon myth embedded in the collective memory, reflecting the ideological trace from 1980s China.
Film Project — The First Line of China (2019)
The First Line of China is a 45-min essayistic documentary in first-person narrative. I presents and examines the current status of his birthplace, an isolated industrial town in Northeast China which was constructed simultaneously with a local state-owned cement factory to feed and host the workers who migrated here. Considered as a combining result of the urban planning scheme and the radical industrialization of China in the 1980s, the factory serves as a bearer of both collective memory and individual sentiments.
During the shooting process, I repeatedly heard this area was described as “The First Line of China” and became curious about its provenance. Throughout the film, viewers are led tracing this clue to reveal a half-buried story and reflecting on other related topics, such as the relationship between space, ideology, memory, and images; my nostalgia for the town as an imaginary hometown or a utopia; the ideological and cultural transformations of China derived from its economic reform, etcetera.
Screenshots from the film, 1920p×1080p
Photobook Project — Zhong Guo Di Yi Xian (2018, ongoing)
2018 First Edition, Paperback, 108 pages, 244mm×313mm
Photo Project — Sheep Pen Town (2017)
This is an ongoing project