The First Line of China | 2017-2019

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

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

The town was constructed simultaneously with a local state-owned cement factory to feed and host the workers who migrated here. As a combined product of the top-down urban planning scheme and the radical industrialization of China in the 1980s, this factory-town model provides a generally 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 1990s China. While having lost its initial context of socialist collectivism, it has turned into a floating signifier of ideologically constructed 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)