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Poems in the Mount Lu Zoo (2015-20) Flaunting Peacock, video still The Becoming of Feathered Beings, video still King of Monkey Hill, video still Clouded Leopard in the Clouds, video still Who Killed the Deer, video still Protective Infanticide, video still Protective Infanticide, video still Protective Infanticide, video still
Ten-channel HD video installation
Meditations in an Emergency. 11/05/20-30/08/20. UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing
 
Yi Xin Tong’s interest in non-human beings and site-specificity renews in his latest work Poems in the Mount Lu Zoo. The series of ten poetry videos revolves around the history of decline and transformation of a zoo in his hometown Mount Lu. Built in 1953, this zoo once housed rare animals and was a popular tourist destination. Following its decline in the 1990s, the zoo was abandoned. Not long after, migrant workers who couldn’t afford housing moved into these cages and set up their homes. Since 2015, Tong has visited the zoo every year and recorded its changing conditions, observing how the architectures have been devoured by nature or altered by human inhabitants to accommodate their needs. The ten videos concern individual species and pavilions original designed for the animals. The narratives in these videos render an allegorical texture, while the moving images can also be regarded as footnotes to the poems. The artist embeds the videos in a curved wall he designed for the exhibition at UCCA, inspired by the architectural elements in the zoo as well as the "windows" people carved out to allow light through. The provocative relationship between animals, humans, and architecture in this spatiotemporal context has its ups and downs as if in a three-act drama.

– Curator Neil Zhang

This project is generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.
 
   
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