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Cloud Explosion, Dongting Lake and the Death of Its Symbols

Mao Chenyu

Release year: 2015

Run time: 78 mins

Film type: Documentary


The Yueyang Baiji Conservation Association is a non-governmental organization. However, in 2012, the position of the organization's chairman was held by Xu Yaping, a chief local journalist of a certain party newspaper. In the experimental film "Cloud Burst, Dongting, and Symbolic Death," Mao Chenyu conducts discourse analysis and deconstruction of Xu Yaping's Weibo posts. The film discusses how ecological conservation becomes a discourse that can be manipulated and self-promoted, and it critiques society's worship of non-natural forces through editing internet materials. The artist juxtaposes the beautiful scenery depicted in Yueyang's investment promotion videos with the ecological consequences, incorporating internet songs and local operas. The film utilizes visual styles resembling slideshows, including bold fonts, changing colors, underlines, and dynamic diagrams. Initially, it may appear bewildering, but it delivers a clear message: there is no contradiction between things on the level of reality that cannot be integrated on the level of media, and technologies, including rhetorical techniques, determine justice and the future. "Dongting" becomes a symbol.


Director biography

Mao Chenyu, born in 1976, hails from Songyuan Village, Xinqiang Town, Yueyang City, Hunan Province. After completing his studies in Inorganic Non-metallic Materials at the School of Materials Science and Engineering, Tongji University in 2000, he began to focus on image-based practices. "Rice Cinema" is a series of visual experiments initiated by Mao Chenyu in 2003. Primarily employing ethnographic approaches within the realm of cinema, his works delve into obscured individual experiences, rural narratives and languages, ethnic differences, land politics, and other related topics. Mao's filming predominantly takes place within the vast region surrounding Yueyang in Hunan, extending to Shennongjia in Hubei, and Northeastern Guizhou, which encompasses the Dongting Lake area. Through capturing rice cultivation and exploring the cultural, agricultural, and social aspects intertwined with rice, he presents the will to exist and the spiritual lineage associated with it. Since 2013, the artist has expanded his language structures through exhibitions, lectures, interdisciplinary collaborations, and other mediums of expression.