Living Elsewhere
CHINA / 1999 / Chinese / Color / Video / 175 min

Director, Editing
: Wang Jian-wei
Photography: Chu Jian-ping
Source: Wang Jian-wei
No. 705 Building 41 Huayanbeili Chaoyang District, Beijing 100029 CHINA
Phone & Fax: 86-10-62384664
E-mail: wangaa@public3.bta.net.cn

Wang Jian-wei

Born in 1958 in Sichuan Province, China. Received his Master's degree from the Oil Painting Department of the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts. Now makes his living as a professional artist, living and working in Beijing. His acclaimed Tea painting series, showing villagers drinking in the local teahouse have been exhibited internationally. Exhibitions include "China´s New Art, Post-1989"(Hong Kong Arts Centre, ' 93 and Marlborough Fine Art Clondon Ltd, GB, ' 93), "New Asian Art Show - 1995" (Osaka and Tokyo, Japan, ' 95), "' 95 Kwangju Biennale" (infoART Kwangju, Korea, ' 95), "Asia-Pacific of Contemporary Art Triennial"(Brisbane, Australia, ' 96), "Documenta X Kassel" (Kassel, Germany, ' 97). His films include, Reproduction (1995), Production (1996, shown at YIDFF '97), Architecture in Contemporary China (1998.)
Along the newly constructed expressway to Chengdu's airport, there is a group of villas built in the beginning of the nineties and left uncompleted for almost seven years. In this marginal area between the city and the country, four peasant families from different parts of China live under primitive conditions as squatters, growing some vegetables, collecting waste metals, and sewing clothes. Unable to return to their homes after losing land in a bubble economy, they decided to migrate and seek a new beginning. Artist Wang Jian-wei (Production, YIDFF '97) sees the image of contemporary Chinese artists in these farmers, caught between tradition and modernity.
Director's Statement
It was in my experimentations with anthropological methodology, when I was trying to capture a certain "event" in daily life, that I came up with what you could call a new method of secret perception.
Individuals each from different places, oppressed individuals, come together in one enclosed space and put themselves, as a group, in the position of ' living elsewhere.' Can each of these individuals maintain their own life-style, keep up their own ways, in this unique place? Or, without their realizing it, will each be slowly changed, taking on new experiences and new habits?
Through the continuous, or discontinuous, documentation of this process, I want to show the attitude of people coming to understand culture as they live out the realties of daily life.
To read what is an 'other' (what is an object) from the mutual interaction of living daily life and of acting in the world, to read that ' other' from the very condition of moving through a real, concrete space. I want to simply place myself directly within the process of perceiving the world, to reflect from a position where I had a consistent relation to this ' other,' where I could refer to the ' other' as I depicted the ' other,' and to never again be subjected to preconceptions or to a linear mode of thinking "moving from here to there."
This process upholds a semantic space where meaning is ambiguous and uncertain. The world will probably never again embody essence, but it will hold anew what are real possibilities.
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COPYRIGHT:Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival Organizing Committee