The First Line of China | 2017-2019-Ongoing

The First Line of China is a long-term project launched in 2017, which utilized different media and materials to present and examine the status quo and the brief history of an isolated industrial town in Northeast China through a first-person perspective and narrative. The project currently consists of three sections:

1. a photo series “The Sheep Pen Town” (2017-Ongoing);
2. a photobook “Zhong Guo Di Yi Xian” (2018-Ongoing);
3. a film entitled “The First Line of China” (2019). 

The town was constructed simultaneously with a local state-owned cement factory to accommodate the workers who migrated here. As a combined product of the 1980s China’s top-down urban planning scheme and radical industrialization, this factory-town model provided a commonly shared communal living experience, which serves as a bearer of collective memory and individual sentiments nowadays.

The title “The First Line of China” was disinterred from the local oral history to name this place in the 1990s. While having lost its initial context of socialist collectivism, it has turned into a floating signifier of an ideological grand narrative, a haunting symbol of post-socialist nostalgia.

The First Line of China (2019)

Single Channel HD Video (Color, Sound)

Zhong Guo Di Yi Xian (2018)

2018 First Edition
108 pages
9.6×12.3 inch (244mm×313mm)

The Sheep Pen Town (2017-2018)

Archival Inkjet Print
17.5×17.5 inch (45×45 cm)