I visit Long Museum features Chinese artist Yang Fudong’s film project (2018): “Dawn Breaking.” Yang moves the whole setting of a movie studio into the museum, in which he planned to spend 30 days filming. Each day the video content will be updated according to the shooting process. The topic is about inside Song dynasty‘s palace.
It is my first time encountering the actual situation of studio filmmaking. I think it is a bold attempt to de-mystify the process of making film and art. And also eye-opening to see the flow of equipment, scenery settings, and actors/actresses.
Which I found a little bit confusing, but the description says these gates are meant to mimic the giant gates in the palace. I personally think they are more similar to a modern Chinese factory, school, or other institutions’ gates. It is more like a symbol of segregation and repression.
Projection of videos is exhibited on the other side of the museum. He utilizes various forms of the projection texture and surface. I do like that he covers a wallpaper in front of the projection surface. The wallpapers employ diverse traditional Chinese patterns, which masks the content that is projected. A floral veil of history and time also has its implication in a Chinese context.
I am not sure whether the videos are still in production or it is intended, but all of them are silent. But usually, in the same room, there will be a prompt generator displaying lines of Nietzsche’s quotes in both English and Chinese. According to the description, some of them are actually the actors’ lines. So I think by stripping the audio from the video, Yang tries to reassemble the situation of acting, let the audience to process the lines by themselves, act out accordingly. The process in a sense is part of the content. I think the idea is pretty amazing.
The content of the film is visually appealing. I personally really enjoy the juxtaposition of the two scenes, the absurd and serious. The dramatic tension is doubled by the juxtaposition.
Overall, I really enjoy the show and appreciate Yang’s cinematography, installation, some of the projection methods and his thoughts on the experimental filmmaking process. But I do think some of his photography of nude women to some extent are once again objectifying women, which I have questions about.