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Author:Yunchang Yang (University College London)
Paper short abstract:
This paper is an ethnographic account of artist Cheng Xinhao's art practices from 2014 to 2020. By reviewing his works incorporating ethnographic and geographical methods, it aims to investigate a collaborative framework for interdisciplinary practices between anthropology, geography and art.
Paper long abstract:
This paper is an ethnographic account of artist Cheng Xinhao's (b.1985) art practices from 2014 to 2020. As an artist working as an anthropologist and geologist, he has paid immense attention on the migration of people, plants, rocks, between political and imagined borderlines under the reality of the Chinese modernity. Based on first-hand materials obtained from personal observations and interviews with the artist and analysis of his specific works, including three photography projects, four video works and one solo exhibition on a mis-classified ethnic group in China, it aims to demonstrate one side of the "ethnographic turn" in Chinese contemporary art, emphasising how ethnographic methods are employed and becomes an intersection of cultural critique and art practice for the Chinese younger artist generation.
Cheng's works, which integrates still and moving images of the Mang people living in the mountain area on the border of China and Vietnam, and of himself walking in the mountain areas and on the railways between the two countries, shed light on the problems of mobility, identity, modernity, and the production of knowledge, using local experiences to illuminate the everyday reality of contemporary China. This paper also aims to analyse why and how his works are effective and important in terms of setting up a collaborative framework for interdisciplinary practices between anthropology, geography and art.
Multimedia Anthropology in the Anthropocene: innovating research practice in times of crisis