Performing China: Contemporary Chinese Film and Media

When 20 Sep 2013 - 27 Sep 2013
Where The Performing Garage
33 Wooster Street
New York, NY 10013
United States
Enquiry 212.966.9796


Image courtesy of the artist.

September 20, 25 & 27
Screenings begin at 7:00 pm

Press release:

On September 20, 25 & 27, The Wooster Group will present Performing China: Contemporary Chinese Film and Media. Organized by independent curator and critic Zhou Xin, the program presents work made between 2009 and 2013 by film and media artists not often screened in the U.S. Focusing on moving image works related to such topics as repressed memory, performance, landscape and immigration, the series considers the shifting relationship between the personal and the national.

Performing China includes work by Gu Tao, Huang Xiang, J.P. Sniadecki, Miao Jiaxin, Wen Hui and Xu Ruotao. Among the films to be presented is Sniadecki, Huang and Xu’s Yumen (2013), an experimental documentary that uses a variety of forms to explore a once-flourishing boom town in China’s northwest. Listening to Third Grandmother’s Stories (2011) is the debut documentary by Wen Hui, a leading choreographer in China and the founder of the independent art space CCD Workstation in Beijing. In this film, Wen uses the reminiscences of her great aunt to experiment with embodied memory, sensory transmission and the passage of time in performance. Xu Ruotao’s feature Rumination (2009) follows a squad of Maoist Red Army guards running amok in the countryside. Writing of the film, Robert Koehler said, “This is certainly the harshest film attack on the madness of the Cultural Revolution . . . it deposits the viewer into the period without comment or context, and plays tricks with time and history.”

These feature-length films are joined by three shorter works: Gu Tao’s On the Way to the Sea, Xu Ruotao’s Building Archaeology, and Miao Jiaxin’s Chinaman’s Suitcase. Performing China offers New York audiences a glimpse into the cutting-edge of independent moving image work in China today. Breaking away from established conventions and political intervention, Chinese independent cinema emerged in the late 1980s as a challenging and dynamic form. This program showcases just a fraction of the work produced in a constantly
shifting field, providing a window on to the country through the lens of these filmmakers.

Friday, September 20, 7pm: Ruin Tourism

Gu Tao: On the Way to the Sea. 20 min. 2009. Digital video. In Chinese with English subtitles.

The filmmaker returns to his home in Sichuan in the aftermath of the catastrophic 2008 earthquake.

Xu Ruotao: Building Archaeology. 15 min. 2011. Digital video. In Chinese with English subtitles.

An examination of the personal and political histories connected to three spaces: an artist’s studio, an abandoned hospital for SARS patients, and a prison cell.

J.P. Sniadecki, Xu Ruotao, Huang Xiang: Yumen. 65 min. 2013. Digital video. In Chinese with English subtitles.

An experimental documentary that uses a variety of forms to explore Yumen, a once-flourishing boom town in China’s northwest.

Wednesday, September 25, 7pm: Performing the Cultural Revolution

Xu Ruotao: Rumination. 104 min. 2009. In Chinese with English subtitles.

An exploration of the Cultural Revolution that depicts both its chaotic later years – through the story of a squad of Red Army guards running amok in the countryside – and its continuing legacy in today’s China.

Friday, September 27, 7pm: Body as Archive

Wen Hui: Listening to Third Grandmother’s Stories. 75 min. 2011. Digital video. In Chinese with English subtitles.

Based on Wen Hui’s great aunt’s reminiscences about love, everyday life, and the political reforms that have
shaped the People’s Republic of China, this documentary experiments with embodied memory, sensory transmission, and the passage of time in performance.

Miao Jiaxin: Chinaman’s Suitcase. 6 min. 2011. Digital video.

A video documentation of a public performance that Shanghai-born, Brooklyn-based artist Miao Jiaxin performed in New York’s Chinatown and Zucotti Park.

Reservations can be made at www.theperforminggarage.org.

For more information, please click here.