A traveller from Zhou Yan on Vimeo.

010- A Traveler

Born and raised in Beijing, I have witnessed the city’s spatial transformation—from the first wave of demolitions of traditional residential buildings (Hutong) in the mid-90s to the expansion of ring roads that kept redefining the city’s boundary. I became interested in the ways in which governmental protocols of urban planning displace people who live in the city. In early 2017, Beijing launched a new urban reform by sealing off or dismantling the entries of many ground-level businesses, for they destroyed the building’s original wall. Many of the shut-down shops were in fact adapted from residential buildings, a use conversion encouraged by a policy promulgated a decade earlier. Policy incessantly permeates people’s lives like water, haphazardly changing its shape. A nostalgic sentiment and a developmentalist ideology, fused together, makes up our paradoxical status quo. In 010: A Traveler, I try to dwell on this contradiction. I created a virtual tour of a house based on my childhood memory, while also weaving fabricated elements of my overseas life and real encounters when I travelled back home. The house thus exists like a Rashomon. In this video, I revisited the archetype of the virtually built house, an old house located in some hutong in Beijing, and searched for scenes in the virtual game with a camera. The trip is accompanied by a chat about Beijing that took place years ago in the Central Park of New York.      


出生和成长在北京,我一直目睹着这座城市外貌的变迁。从上世纪90年代的拆除老旧胡同,到环路一圈圈向城市外围扩张,一轮轮城市规划举措持续影响着城市居民的生活。2017年夏天,北京政府大力整治“开墙打洞”,许多被算作违规的店铺是由民宅改造而成,而“住改商”的做法正是10年前政策鼓励的结果。于是,10年前住房被改造的人在10年后旁观着新一轮市貌变化。政策就像水一样,反复地以各种形式渗进人们的生活。怀旧的情绪和一种必须向前发展的理念共同形成了当下的状态。这种矛盾便是《010: 一个旅行者》的出发点。我将儿时记忆搭建成一座可供游览的虚拟房屋,把在异乡搭建起来的虚拟记忆与回国后的现实经历杂糅在一起,如同罗生门般的存在着。在这个录像中,我回到了虚拟房屋的原址。在这个隐藏在北京某个胡同的老宅里,用镜头寻找着游戏中的虚拟场景,并且伴随着早年在纽约中央公园中的一段关于北京记忆的闲聊。