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798 Station

Zheng Kuo

Release year: 2010

Run time: 105 mins

Film type: Documentary


798 is a Beijing factory that the East Germans assisted in constructing in the 1950s. Later, many of its workers were laid off during China’s Reform and Opening and modernization. But at the beginning of the new century, with the rise of contemporary art, 798 became a remarkable yet controversial art park. Who developed 798 from a factory into an art district? With the rise and fall, glories and shame of 798, what changes have taken place? In the cracks between artistic expression, political constraints, commercial temptations and organizational management, is the spirit of contemporary art still there?


Director biography

Zheng Kuo, independent producer and director, graduated from the Li Xianting Film School in 2009. He planned the independent film section of the 2008 Beijing 798 Art Festival at the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art. He was also the curator of the independent film section of the 2009 Beijing 798 Biennial. In 2010, he directed his first independent feature documentary, 798 Station, and a short fiction film, Sound of Silence. His renowned feature documentary, Cold Winter, documents the Beijing artists rallies of 2011. Burned Wings is his debut fiction feature film.

Director's statement

Nowadays, 798 is too bustling! With government intervention, corporate management, fashion attention, and throngs of tourists, the chaotic splendor can easily enchant the eyes. I just can't link it to the place overgrown with weeds in 2002. In this era, nothing is beyond consumption. Some speak until they're hoarse, while others can only remain silent. Art is just McDonald's, and we all prefer to be fools. I've decided to record the truth, a small part of it. It took me over two years to complete this task, interviewing nearly a hundred artists and figures in the art world. Thanks to all those who refuse to remain silent.