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The Holding Zone

The neighborhood I grew up in was situated around the residence of the Wuhan Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China and the People's Liberation Army. It’s an area close to government offices, and the surrounding environment reflects and responds promptly to new policies and measures. As a resident of this area, I spent my childhood here and transitioned into adulthood, with my memories of growing up and family life intricately intertwined with the public spaces in this community. Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Wuhan in 2020,  I finally returned here in 2023 after living in Chicago for four years. I discovered that many established norms and policies had changed with the development of Chinese society and economy. Multiple public spaces in my residential district lost their original attributes and functions due to changes in regulations, leading to a semi-abandoned state with prolonged disuse. During the months I’ve been living back home, I've frequently explored these places, even in those where signs indicating prohibition of entry. In investigating and exploring these spaces, I reexamined my experiences of growth, collective memories, and the changes brought about by China's business and industrial development over the past decade. A natural sense of belonging and the ensuing sense of distance have entangled me in a subtle contradiction.


How are public spaces continuously reshaped by socio-political changes, and how do they infiltrate the personal lives of different classes and groups? Does private life in contemporary society exist within long-term fluctuations, randomness, and uncertainty? As we navigate the swift river of time, what remains, and what gets forgotten?


"The Holding Zone" is an ongoing, long-form project where I aim to showcase the fragile intimacy between the individual and public spaces by capturing myself within the environments I reshape. I utilize the projector as a tool of visual intrusion, casting transient regulatory signs into abandoned spaces. These signs briefly exist in the form of light within the span of my camera's shutter release, disappearing without a trace as the shutter closes. Past and present momentarily coexist in the still image, capturing their fleeting presence in the space.







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