Souvenirs (2017-2018 / ongoing)

Wooden suitcase, custom-designed souvenir t-shirts, video

Souvenirs is an ongoing project that attempts to mediate and understand political events via (moving) images and everyday objects. When it was initially conceived in 2017, back at home in China, numerous events that expose the violence and sufferings of people in certain cities in Chinese. While these cities are relatively underdeveloped, they failed to resist the capitalist trend, and have nevertheless become tourist destinations for people who live elsewhere. The souvenirs, as a result, are a product born out of the demands of the nation-states, while in daily life they remain objects of personal memory and enjoyment. Those who own souvenirs are people of certain privilege, so that everything that happens behind the perfect image of a tourist city is left invisible. But is there a kind of souvenir that, inside of being a screen of invisibility, tears the hidden reality open? 


This is a project that concerns people like us, spectators of suffering, activists who yet see this current reality as something must be changed and re-created. At the current stage, I am developing an AR app that imitates the interface of a smartphone camera. It will recognize the images of the t-shirts and realistic accounts of things happened or happening in those areas, told by an anonymous narrator, will show up. What are you looking at now -- a photo, an image, a place, a history, or, the very present?