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zhao yanbin

film stills

installation view


single channel video, 8:00, 2022

California Institute of the Arts

| A Zhong




Forest. But all those observations are being deserted

By the dreary sunlight

By the irritated souls

With a trace of life like righteousness being upheld

But all the scattered thoughts in the forest


Stipulated my departure again and again


Come, carve open our experiences

to fall into our bodies

The seeds left by those portraits


And become the future forests

The subsequent death is going to prove

Your glory




Originally published in the author’s poetry anthology  “Interrogation of the Soul”

Guangzhou: Hua Cheng Publishing, December 2006


024| An Anthology of June Fourth Poetry

Annihilation is a performance/video installation based on a poem from which the work borrows its title, written by A Zhong, included in the poetry collection An Anthology of June Fourth Poetry. In the video captured on DV tape and later edited into a long dissolving shot, the poem is recited by the artist and enters a repetition where the audio is re-recorded and re-played, picking up noise each time until the poem itself becomes indistinguishable. In the shot, the artist repeats the gesture of cleansing his body in a bathtub, eventually erasing himself from reality.

In Annihilation, the dissolve—a technique commonly used in film editing—is assigned with its cultural and political connotation. The generation born after 1989 is a generation living in an alternative future where certain parts of the history never occurred in the first place. The history is altered, manipulated, and erased into a state of virtuality. As a result, the moment the artist encountered the poem from a book that is unaccessible in mainland China, he automatically entered the phase of annihilation and rebirth. The revised history inherited in his body has created a deep void, forcing him to respond to a generation with fabricated collective memory. Through the repeated gesture of erasure, the artist rethinks the relationship between self and history, as well as the rupture in both the political and personal space.

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