Xing Danwen was born in Xi’an, China, and currently lives and works in Beijing. Her photographs document the massive piles of discarded computer and electronic trash in China’s Guangdong province, where Chinese migrant workers recycle outmoded objects from industrialized countries, which, ironically, were often manufactured in China before being shipped abroad and then returned as trash.
The artist explains her need to portray a dark reality of 21st century technology and economics: "Traveling between China and the United States has made me increasingly aware of the conflicts between modernity and tradition, dream and reality. I carefully choose, direct and intimate moments to portray the objects I find. The aesthetic quality of the imagery almost removes the objects from their social context. But I cannot forget that most of the e-trash I am photographing is shipped from the United States and dumped in the Guangdong Province where people make a meager living recycling it. While we rely extensively on high-tech devices for our modern life, I was nevertheless shocked when confronted with the piles of dead and deconstructed machines, cords, wires, chips and parts - all of them with traces of America on them. In my country, I have experienced the changes that have taken place under the influence of Western modernity. These changes, driven in large measure by the United States, have contributed to a powerful push for development in China. At the same time, they have led to an environmental and social nightmare in remote corners of the country."
The installation of photographs by Xing Danwen and Gu Xiong in the St. Patrick subway station, provocatively explores contemporary global culture.
Artist Lecture May 11 - see PROGRAMS >LECTURES
An concurrent exhibition of Xing's recent work is on view at Gallery TPW, co-presented by CONTACT - see EXHIBITIONS > FEATURE EXHIBITIONS.