‘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.

titanic by chinese artist zhang liaoyuan shopping for groceries, the three video panels are projecting different scenes image © designboom

titanic by chinese artist zhang liaoyuan 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