Beyond the Ancient and the New

…uncovering a hidden truth, conserving a vanishing past. — Susan Sontag, On Photography

In the West, when monuments are restored, old traces are often particularly highlighted. Original elements are treated like relics. The far East is not familiar with this cult of the original. I has developed a completely different technique of preservation, that might be more effectivethan conservation or restoration. This takes place through continual reproduction. This technique completely abolishes the difference between original and replica — Byung-Chul Han, Shanzai

Where the object of discourse is constantly slipping away, the discourse itself proves endless: The endlessness of interpretation, textuality or desire exceeds any particular historical presence or future — Boris Groys, On the New

This research for the project was loosely based on Chris Marker’s and Alain Resnais’ French essay film Les Statues Meurent Aussi (Statues Also Die) from 1953. The project Beyond the Ancient and the New in Kunming, Yunnan (Southwest China) looks into daily objects and their intersection between political and social change. How do people in Europe and China feel about the relation between historic and contemporary and how one defines new? Yunnan verges on Tibet, Guanxi, and the provinces Sichuan and Guizhou, on Vietnam, Laos and Burma. Various identities exist there since the 8th century B.C. Today the metropolis Kunming is growing fast and is the hub between Southeast Asia and China. Traditional craftsmanship, variations, imitations and modern design collide in everyday objects and these variations influence each other. The project was developed in cooperation with filmmaker Maya Schweizer, and with the support of the ifa and the Culture Center Nordica in Kunming.

Thank You to:
Luo Fei, the students of the design apartment at University of Kunming, and everbody from Nordica and the Provincial Museum Kunming.

Beyond the Ancient and the New — Practice and political change, 2013, video, photographs, exhibition and workshop at the University of Kunming.