I was dealing with a maths question a long time ago. I spent a lot of time on it, searching textbooks, reference books, notes, and all other sources I could find, but still could not find the correct answer. This question tortured me and left me restless all day. Obviously, I could not sleep well that night. It seemed that I fell asleep but continued thinking about this in my dream. Finally, I knew what the answer was: it turned out that this question was wrong. I was so excited about this finding. When I thought I could finally get to sleep, I woke up from the dream. I saw that the light in my room was still on and the maths question was still there, unresolved. At that moment, I could not figure out whether the issue lay in that maths question itself, or whether it was just me who could not find the right answer. However, it is not an issue for me anymore now. I know it is just a fictional script after all.
This is a ‘conversation’ I had with independent film director Zhang Zanbo many years ago. It was a casual conversation. So much time has passed that I have almost forgotten this article. After all, it has become an antique; the conversation was never published anywhere – it seems to have been done for a film book deal, which never came out in the end – and it is a relic that has been unearthed. Time is a magician, and the trance of yesterday reappearing has the feel of meeting an old friend in another country.
He is Wu Haohao. He is known to some in the film world mainly because he does all kinds of low budget, personal, erotic and provocative content. Over the years he has not had much contact with me, except that I have occasionally screened his films and that he has borrowed money from me on occasion but has remembered to return it. He contacted me again when he asked me two years ago how I had emigrated to the United States. He told me about his ambitious plans if he got there. I thought it was a really interesting thing to do and started filming him.
Li Wake is one of the early artists in the field of contemporary art in China. Compared with many artists who made their fortunes in China’s art market bubbles after 2000, he has been in the state of despair. Nonetheless, he has been tirelessly participating in many grassroots performance art activities.
I thought of Pan Jianlin whom I have been out of touch with for 10 years when I was organizing a programme about the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake for Fanhall this April and May. Pan went to Wenchuang to film soon after the earthquake and completed a documentary “Who killed our children”.