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Curiosity. One has to be curious about the world. This is of utmost importance. You have to be curious about the world. If you stop being curious about the things around you, then you are no different from a dead person.
What inspired you to create and become an artist?
Deng Xiaoping’s reforms in China did not start in Liao Lin (northern China), but in Shenzhen, southern China. Step by step the new practices made its way up to the North. I left Liao Lin to study in Hangzhou. Hangzhou is in southern China, and was already very developed, so that time for me was to witness different things happening at the same time and space (China), and I could really feel this disparity every year I returned home. New practices in the South were making their way up to the North. People started to think differently; their way of thinking was different as well. [The reforms] were influencing people’s lives bit by bit, which was why this phenomenon particularly interested me. My inspiration to create art stemmed from this experience. I took time to think about what happened at that time, and gradually formulated my works around it. The disparity between southern and northern China really had me confused and dislocated, because what I learnt from the past no longer applied; past standards did not apply anymore. Southern and northern China was so different that you could no longer measure everything with the same ruler.
How did you conceptualize your new animation ‘What happened in the year of dragon’?
I was first inspired of a work by Rene Magritte. Before creating that work, Magritte came across a novel. That novel was Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’. After reading the novel, Magritte painted ‘The Spontaneous Generation’. The work centers on the idea that non-living forms evolve into biological creatures, meaning that humans were also once non-living things. That is a fascinating theory in biology, even though it was not widely popularized. This formed the basis of Magritte’s ‘The Spontaneous Generation’. It so happened that I also read Huxley’s novel ‘Brave New World’. In fact, there are 3 novels that explore the same idea, one of which is ‘We’, written by a Russian author; the other one is ‘1984’ by George Orwell; and lastly Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’. Together the 3 novels are practically a trilogy that explores dyspotia, and in reality, they reflect the course of human history - the history behind today’s modern society. What happened in the novels particularly resonates to China’s own history. I feel especially strong about it as someone who has grown up and lived in China. It was in that mindset when I began to explore Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’, and eventually created this animation.
What does the Cultural Revolution mean to you?
I am really curious about what my grandfather and great grandfather did in their time, what they actually did. I kept discovering and almost reached our ancestors in the Qing Dynasty. My family history is really important to me. What my ancestors were thinking, and why they made those decisions in life - I became very curious. My father would tell me everything he knew. That basically sums up the course of history in modern China.
What is your next project?
My next work will centre around my father’s memoir. I want to write a novel, and make an animation and a film. Of course it won’t be the same as what happened in the Cultural Revolution, but the Cultural Revolution will be an important reference.
Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.
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