Where Can I Wish You Happy?

On 12 May 2008, at 14:28 Beijing time, an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.0 on the Richter scale struck my home province of Sichuan, China, claiming the lives of nearly 70,000 people. At the time, I was at university in another city far from home. Based on my personal states of ‘absence’ ‘distance’ and ‘being an outsider’, my graduation practices show, in several different dimensions, the possibilities for me and for Chinese people in a similar situation to me to relate ourselves to the memory of this earthquake and to shape our own postmemory.

Most of these projects are covered in more detail in my thesis. Please feel free to read my thesis to find out more.

Wish You Happy 02, 2022-2023

Wish You Happy

I use several group photographs of people involved in the earthquake, by which who were separated from each other in life and death, as bases for reconstructing the images on the photographs through relatively small textual writings. These group photos become platforms that straddle common experience and privateness, evoking memories and activating imagination.

By capturing and recreating scenes from a video of the day of the earthquake, shot by different cameramen, I want to highlight the ethical issues involved in journalism in extremely specific situations.

Beichuan, 2023
Yingxiu, 2023

I returned to several earthquake sites and photographed tourists in the act of photographing in these spaces. I also took photographs under the guidance of a local private guide. These photographic acts and results map out how different subjects, such as those who experienced the earthquake, mass media, and self-publishers, disseminated memories of the earthquake and constructed postmemories.

Beichuan, 2023

In September 2022, during the Covid-19 prevention and control in China, a new Sichuan earthquake triggers a dilemma about whether citizens can escape from the gates of their neighborhoods. I have placed the images of the back of the staff member who locked the gates to prevent people from escaping and made provocative remarks in this incident on top of the real earthquake ruins.

Please accept marketing-cookies to watch this video.
At a Safe Distance, We Wish Them Well, 2022

At a Safe Distance, We Wish Them Well

This is a video which recorded my act of going to the former site of the Auschwitz Concentration camp. By acting as a spokesperson, I brought the inappropriate reactions of some Chinese people in the present to the plight of their compatriots to that field of traumatic memories that are more than alive in present day Europe. 

I started an open call for photographs or videos of the 12 May 2008 Sichuan earthquake (which are not in circulation in the public domain) from people who experienced it, and from Sichuanese who were not present at the time of THE earthquake, as well as group photos or photographs of the ruins taken by people who have since travelled to the ruins. There is also a call for personal stories about these images. No time limit for this collection, and I hope that over time these images and stories will form a repository of individual memories.