Born in Shaanxi and growing up in Inner Mongolia, I have never developed a strong sense of hometown. In fact, I have led a nomadic and diasporic lifestyle in the last forty years; I have been a migrant and foreigner in many countries, where I give up my native language and learn to live and write in foreign languages. I attended universities in Xi’an, Beijing, Nanjing and Sydney, and studied a range of subjects including English, journalism and
communication, art, American studies, gender studies and cultural studies, all driven by my own interests. I have worked and lived in Xi’an, Beijing, Sydney, Berlin, London and Nottingham. Now middle-aged, I have finally settled down, in Nottingham, a city in the middle of England and the home county of the legendary Robin Hood. As I teach media and cultural studies, I also conduct research on queer cultures in contemporary China. I have written two books: Queer Comrades: Gay Identity and Tongzhi Activism in Postsocialist China (NIAS Press, 2018) and Queer China: Lesbian and Gay Literature and Visual Culture under Postsocialism (Routledge, 2020). If you ask me where I come from and where my hometown is, I do not know and probably cannot care less; but if you ask me where my home is, home is where I live and write, and what I make it to be.
I am a native of Shandong, a province which is abbreviated as Lu. ‘Confucius feels the Lu kingdom is too small when he climbs onto the top of the East Hill’. My name was derived from this verse. I have devoted myself to writing on and the curation of Chinese independent films for many years. I always advocate to advance academic research through curating activities. My research interests lie in Chinese film culture and history, especially the history of independent documentaries and the relationship between film narratives, history and reality. I have written columns about Chinese cinema in newspapers such as The Economic Observer, Southern Weekend and Beijing Daily. I have also worked as a programmer, curator or jury member for film festivals such as the China Independent Film Festival, Beijing Independent Film Festival, First International Film Festival, and Reel China Biennale. These activities have expanded my vision and helped my research. I have published a number of books including Disease of Our Time: Witnessing Independent Film Culture (2008), The Politics of the Cinema (2014), and The Will of the Cinema (2019).
Old Zhu (surname) or Old Pig (which sounds the same as my surname Zhu in Chinese), is a marginal person, a professional film amateur, and an uncompromising curator of Chinese independent film since the beginning of the twenty-first century, from Beijing to New York. I was addressed as an elder when I was still young but referred to as a young cynic now I am getting old. The past has passed; the future is unpredictable. I would rather grow into old age by the ancient willows next to an old pond.