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陌生地形(Strange Terrains)系列是我开始于2013 年的长期艺术项目,它关注散居于中国和越南边境的族群——莽人。
从2013 年开始,我就一直试图把自己抛入这片场域,在知识和体感之间寻找着那条被掩盖的线索。它永远存在于某些光滑的叙事之间:“自然”与社会之间;不同的民族国家之间;“传统”与全球化之间;历史与当下之间;自我与他者之间。由此,我在这片陌生地形中重新学习进而穿越,并得以追问:何种平面在此以何种方式杂合?何种新的知识因之出现?何种实践在制造这片空间?当下何以在这个特定的历史中出现?

The series "Strange Terrains" is one of my art projects which would last over 15 years. The project is a study of an unrecognized ethnic group on the China-Vietnam border - the Mang people.
The Mang people is a small minority group living in this area even before the two nations and their border existed. Their identities were changing with the process that the flexible frontier becoming sacred borderline. This process was considered as a pre-modern ethnic group being "civilized", or the powerful culture integrating the weak culture. However, I would like to point out another way to describe it. In this version, it was the Mangs wondering in the borderlands, which weaken the symbolic space of the nation states; It was the Mangs telling stories in their own ways and building their new tradition with the materials coming from the modern world. In both ways, the clear meaning of the space would become fuzzy again. It was a kind of resistance against the governmentality, and also a kind of weapons of the weak, which could trace back to the very beginning of the forming of the nations.
I tried to enter the field since 2013 in both intellectual way and perceptual way. This is strange terrain comprising multiple familiar planes: between "nature" and society, between nation and state, between "tradition" and globalization, between history and the present, between kin and other. Here, on this strange terrain, I am learning how to traverse further, and go on to ask: what kinds of planes come together here in what complex way? What boundaries form? What new knowledge emerges as a result? What practices recreate this space? Through which historical practices can the present be revealed?

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Solo Exhibition The Fool's Gold
OCAT Shenzhen, curated by Chen Baiqi
June 6–August 18, 2019

A letter by curator Chen Baiqi