titanic by chinese artist zhang liaoyuan
titanic by chinese artist zhang liaoyuan titanic by chinese artist zhang liaoyuan
oct 07, 2011

titanic by chinese artist zhang liaoyuan

‘titanic’ by zhang liaoyuan, eating at a restaurant … image courtesy zhang liaoyuan

for this video work, young chinese artist zhang liaoyuan has built three scenes, a restaurant, a supermarket and a library. all of a sudden, a great inrush of water occurs (like the one that happened inside of the luxurious submerged passenger boat titanic). while the inundation is happening within the 3 scenes, people are behaving in an ordinary manner, seeming to not notice the water. the work is supposed to be a comment on modern society, as if we are like those passengers of the titanic, but the actors in zhang’s work remain calm, as if to say our society is trying to pretend that those life-threatening leaks in our world do not exist.

the artist states that there are always accidents, incidents and disasters happening around the world. however, no matter what happens outside, we, individuals, keep leading our normal lives. this could be viewed as a strength of the people, or as the indifference of the young generation towards society and others.

shopping for groceries, the three video panels are projecting different scenes image © designboom

high-pressure leaks happen in the restaurant video, in one of the trifold video panels image © designboom

short video clip © designboom

short video clip © designboom

zhang liaoyuan was born in shandong in 1980, he lives and works in hangzhou.this video work of 2008 is currently on show until october 30th, 2011 in the CAFA art museum in beijing, and is part of the 1st CAFAM biennale, entitled ‘super-organism\research and experiment from a specific view’.

‘bio-politics, body, machinery and urbanity, why these four topics are chosen? in our point of view, the four are the most striking cultural-political issues in current days. how is life — death, prosperity, decline, welfare, disaster — included into the political scope for intervention and management? this issue is related to today’s human rights, poverty problems, refugees, migration and rabble problems everywhere in the world.’ curator wang min’an

  • I’ve been using this metaphor for a long time! It’s good for the design world to see because most of us are just making little aesthetic and sometimes social or environmental changes on a sinking ship! Capital is controlling everything, and we are more concerned with its reproduction than securing life on earth.

    Worth reading:

    Living in End Times

    by Slavoj Zizek.

    ewr says:
  • if this is art i’m god…
    humans pretend to be intelligent animal, forgetting that the death is a perfect thing

    diego says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

art news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
501,537 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample