China.Change can be described an attempt to “locate” this culture, to understand where it is at right now. The lecture series sought to capture a snapshot of the social changes currently underway; it was a platform that allowed us to adjust and enhance our diverse images of China and that offered new impulses for current discussions on China. It examined the two important periods of change that have determined the course of China’s development in the last 50 years in relation to each other: the modernization process in China today, and the cultural revolution in Mao Zedong’s China, starting in the mid-1960s.
China.Present exhibited three positions in current Chinese photography represented in the work of young photographers. In the three successive exhibitions, photographic positions on current issues in present-day China were shown in which architecture, everyday culture, and nightlife function as indicators of the rapid change occurring in Chinese cities. Zhou Ming’s photographs show the unreal cityscapes that serve as no more than a shell for the burgeoning changes unfolding in China. Lu Yuanming’s photographs immerse themselves in big city life and daily routines, and the fleeting isolated impressions condense into a continuous urban narrative. These photographs were shown together with the video work “Deaf Land” by photographer Liang Yue. In the video, Yue explores a deaf girl’s feelings and impressions in daily urban life. Charlie Xia’s work examines the nightclub districts of Shanghai with their luxury, neon lights, and temporary ecstasy. The oscillations of the night are underscored by the electronic music of DJ Ting Da Wen.
China.Past – unique photographic documents of the Cultural Revolution were shown in the documentary-narrative exhibition “Red News Soldier”. Mao Zedong, mass demonstrations, Red Guards, re-education measures, marching school children, blind destruction, and public humiliation – Li Zhensheng’s images are considered the most comprehensive photographic record of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. The majority of the works document scenes that the Party press did not wish to see published and that reveal the horror behind the propaganda. Eighteen years long, Li Zhensheng worked as a photographer for the newspaper “Heilongjiang Daily” as what was known as a “Red News Soldier” (i.e., revolutionary journalist). He hid the negatives to protect them from censorship, frequently placing his own life in peril.