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Online Screening Program, StaatlicheKunstsammlungen Dresden, Germany

Counterpoints: Focus China (curated by Mia Yu) Despite the shared history of socialism, contemporary China and the former GDR resist simplistic, point-by-point comparisons and references. Still, thinking about the former GDR in proximity to China, and vice versa, serves as a useful and productive approach. These selected artists have critically engaged revolutionary histories, languages, aesthetics, architectural spaces and dislocated ideologies. Their films compose an alternative collage of trans-historical storylines, trans-local connections and disjuncture. Through such collage, China, the former GDR as well as all other locales with shared socialist histories and unresolved traumas may serve as refracted images of one and another.

The Trial (Yao Qingmei, 2013)

Interested in the appropriation of symbolic gestures, Paris-based artist Yao Qingmei often resorts to the poetics of comedy to expose the absurdity of socio-political issues. Her film The Trial is conceived as an absurdist theatre in which the artist herself performs as a militant figure in uniform. As she interrogates three vending machines, she appropriates the exaggerated gestures of the revolutionary speaker and the archaic language typically employed in communist ideological discourse. Yao Qingmei’s portrayal pokes fun at the cumbersome communist ideology in China and also prompts questions on the meaning of hierarchy and symbolism of authority today. Counterpoints: Focus China, curated by Mia Yu Sponsored by Kulturstiftung des Bundes 9:01 minutes


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