This is my city
Starting Tongyuanju Project for six years, from artistic portrait to historical research of this social platform in Southwest China, I have a deeper understanding about this place for myself, so as the social involving project. It only exists on my self-conscious, and reflects on theoretical level. Maybe this particular characteristic is the advantage it has ever brought to me.
Situated in Southwest China, Chongqing is always being a reserve base for National strategy in every period of history. In 50s of last century, Sino-Soviet split triggered anxious of war in potentates. Hence the three-line construction initiated, and Tongyuanju, as a historical industrial base, was also involved into this vast preparation. The management strategy and factory planning, however, proceed to use Soviet method. The centralization of management, known as Collective management, means living and working together, and the group were in charge of everything from producer, including living and dying. The position of working class had been raised unprecedented high at that time. In this method of management, human nature was shaded by so-called glory. Political works play a very positive work in this sealed social platform, and the notion of remarkable achievement, labor glory and collective spirit was embedded in every workers' mind. As the founding of republic and political censorship, these blueprint portrayed for destitution level was veiled. Glory and dignity was redefined.
From 1953 to 1989, nearly 30 years, the producers of factory has made us too much social fortune. But as the social system reformed, everything become forgotten, even unwilling to mention. Those "Big Brothers" in those years faces unemployed and series of crisis deriving from it. When we say the social change of China is meeting with modernity, there's no doubt that Tongyuanju exemplified this. In these years of research, it's hard to tell their loss about social status. Meanwhile, their superiority complex coming from past social status seems full of ambivalence and dramatical. For example, when I was doing "travel" project, their desire for common benefit and knowingly violating words and deeds proved my guess. But being forgotten or marginalized has nothing to with the fact that they're disappearing. In fact, they are everywhere, more than we imagine, in the street, in the plaza, in the taxi. We can feel that particular behavior and language, and they're included in every level of social spectrum. I am always finding whether the power from the bottom is still exist, whether it can become an social dynamic. Whatever the power it is, I believe it exists. So I gave my video camera to them. Through the us of camera, I wonder if they can find the clue. The reason is easy: my city has its particular idiosyncrasy, whatever it was called local culture or trait of city, it shapes a city or a country in specific way. This power has been cover by economic and politic. But from the trace of social development, it impacts, changes the society. History is the results happening in the past, but the future depends on history too, so that the portrait of city can unfold.
What kind of city is my city? The essence of this question is asking who we are. Structure is decided by human and their power or intelligence. Whatever this kind of power has advancement, we cannot change the trace of history by backing into a specific period. this is the key we need to notice. My reason for doing Tongyuanju is from above. I insisted all these time, and the artistic method is the best I ever used. I still believe art is flexible and intelligible, which is not serving for capitalism for sure.