22 Nov 展览《十里店》于11月20日（周四）下午开幕
Ten Mile Inn
Location: 2F, 4th Building, School of Inter-Media Art, China Academy of Art
Duration: 20th-30th Nov.2014
Curators: ZHANG Hua/ ZHANG Chen
Assistants: CHEN Xiaoqiong/ WEI Shan/ BAI Qingwen
Participation Groups：Downtown Group，Sexy Group，Xiaoer Group，Shepherds Group，Hiking Group，Kenan Group.
Academic Supports：GAO Shiming (The Institute of Contemporary Art and Thoughts, School of Inter-Media Art, China Academy of Art)
HUANG Sunquan（Institute of Interdisciplinary Art, Kaohsiung Normal University, Taiwan）
GAO Chu（Scholar of Chinese Photography History）
In 1947, British Communist David Crook and Canadian anthropologist Isabel Crook came to Shanxi-Hebei-Shandong-Henan liberated areas, and as “international observers”, they detailedly recorded the whole process of the land reform and review of Ten Mile Inn, where the Chinese land reform was piloted. In the end of the 1950s, their works, i.e. Revolution in a Chinese Village: Ten Mile Inn and Ten Mile Inn: Mass Movement in a Chinese Village, was successively published in Britain, and became significan media for the international community to understand Chinese social revolution. Consequently, Ten Mile Inn, an ordinary village at the foot of Taihang Mountains, as well as more than 700 photos shot and kept by David Crook, came into the ideological vision of the international academia.
This October, Huang Sun-Quan from Institute of Interdisciplinary Art, Kaohsiung Normal University, Taiwan, Gao Chu, young photographer from Beijing, and I led 27 art students (from School of Inter-media Art, Chinese Academy of Art, Kaohsiung Normal University, and City University of Hong Kong ) and came to the countryside called Ten Mile Inn together. The village, once famous for the reports on “land revolutions” and “land reforms” written by the Crooks, had seldom difference from tens and thousands of Northern villages in China when we saw its life and scenes, which made us wonder whether the “land reforms” had been really conducted.
During our investigations, we actively searched for the historical sites of more than 700 photos shot by Crook, and intended to confirm the memorial sites at that moment with the cameras in our hands. Revolutions are like “snapshots”, whereas Crook provided us these historical “slow motions” with his camera, and enabled us to observe the stories and events that happened around 1947 to 1948 in Ten Mile Inn one day after another. In the narrative of the Crooks, Chinese revolutions were not only violent battles but comprehensive revolutions of the social life. To Break the old order and build a new one are the twofold contents of the revolutions, while the villagers in the photos shot by David Crook, these simple, honest and rustic villagers, were both the objects and subjects of revolutions.
However, what has been left in the “Ten Mile Inn” recorded and structured by the Crooks who came from afar? How can we evoke the souls of the historical sites from the current memorial sites? How can we make museums, monuments and textbooks go down to the current sites? How can we cultivate ourselves the historical sense and the realistic sense? What is the relationship between us and the distant reality that we are faced with? What role can the art and videos play between historical understandings and social perceptions?
Half a century ago, what the Crooks intended to display was the revolution and mass movement in a Chinese village; whereas today, what we expect to understand is the village in the Chinese movement. Revolutions broke up repeatedly, while the location of the village exists there forever. Except for several children in those days who are now more than 80 years old, most of the villagers in the photos of Crook have passed away, and the photographic sites have become relics. The realistic life is like a unique canvas that has been repeatedly painted and accumulated by a layer of painting and another. Faced with the one-time history, we have no other choice but to wander or continue before the scene at this moment.
At Ten Mile Inn, we initially ask ourselves, what does “going into the countryside”, the significant literary and artistic tradition in Chinese socialist experience, mean for the students of art colleges? More than 80% of rural population has nothing to do with what we are engaged in, i.e. the art. The Chinese contemporary art, who has claimed to involve in the society, has never tried to build any relationship with the majority of the country. Art students can draw a person, but cannot vividly draw a family; they can draw a house, but cannot heartily depict a village. What the art student cannot draw? They cannot draw people’s life, social relations, happiness or misery, hardship and longing, and they cannot draw the antecedents and consequences of the village, or joys, sorrows, unions and departures of a family. “Going to the countryside” initially means to learn to observe and understand the society with common sense; it is not only to see the distant landscape, but also to hone our realistic sensibility through the life from afar and to strengthen our self-criticism through interacting with others. Professor Huang Sun-Quan, who has learnt sociology, repeatedly emphasized in the night discussions at Ten Mile Inn that, the basic principle of “action sociology” is to sort out a series of knowledge with its objects to solve problems, which needs the attitude of “taking and measuring others’ actions as our own actions”. Consequently, what I expect is to make our thoughts and actions in RenJian (humanistic); what I expect is to learn to perceive the society by heart and contact others with affections while “going to the countryside”; what I expect is, to arouse the love of equality and the goodwill to the world through “going to the countryside”.