Water (Standard Version from the Cihai Dictionary)
© Zhang Peili
This video features Xing Zhibin, the famous newscaster who was then the face of state-run television in China, in a news studio setting. She reads the lengthy definition for ‘water’ from a Chinese dictionary in a neutral and monotonous tone, metaphorically flooding the viewer with a sea of meaningless words. The notions of boredom and control serve as a contrast to the function and format of the official Chinese news. Xing is the newscaster who broadcasted many government announcements during the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident, and as such her performance serves as a social critique. As the first video artist in China, Zhang developed a body of video and performance work beginning from the late 1980s.
Single-channel video
9 min. 35 sec.

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