Dunwu - Epiphanies

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This ongoing photographic enquiry investigates the multiple visual shapes that the collective politics of memory have taken in China since the end of the 90s, and its icons.

Soon after the first Chinese students' unrests of 1986-87, Deng Xiaoping advocated the PRC's urge for a constant "review of the experience gained during the economic development”, and “a better job of persuasion". Both aimed to strengthen the national ideological unit. It was then that he laid the base for all the Post-Tianamen propaganda campaigns in favor of “patriotic education” - paralleled by the launching of the same “cultural consumerism” widely developed till today. But memory is not only a national identity tool. It is something deeply personal, inextricably enmeshed in the psyche of each individual, a random stream of feelings, ghosts and illuminations flowing through our minds. Therefore every person can always be an epiphany (dunwu), and a historical monument, in herself.

The series tries to realize an improbable dialogue between the clearly shaped national “ideologic memory” - the collective narration of any Chinese official history book and tv series - and everyman's daily unconscious action of remembrance. Therefore,  the ideological motto of a “Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics” is here paralleled by today's “China Dream” campaigns, with all its icons and touristic fetichism, today re-invented with a nationalistic-pop taste.

 

In the attempt to recall these existential intuitions and the forgotten personal stories behind them, China’s daily street scenes and its idols are here shown as floating figures, blurred shadows and sudden illuminations, squeezed in the crowds and fluxes of the contemporary metropolis and its routine.

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