Headlands Center for the Arts

Connie Zheng

california | visual
Graduate Fellowship Program 2019—2020, University of California, Berkeley

Artist Statement

I am an inter-disciplinary artist, writer, and filmmaker who was born in China, grew up in New England, and is currently based out of the East Bay. My work is interested in developing new language around the apocalypse, the difference between “disaster porn” and “disaster erotica,” diasporic place-making, and the political potentials enabled by fantasy as a means of community-building amidst climate change. I like to think about the different forms that propaganda can assume and how to use new combinations of visual and text-based language to catalyze collective thinking about climate change, which I see as the greatest ideological threat of our time.

My work moves between text, drawing, painting, sculpture, installation, and time-based media, although I generally begin by drawing, writing, and performing research. Each medium gives me access to different kinds of knowledge, enables different ways of thinking and seeing, and provides points of entry into different semiotic ecosystems.

While at Headlands

While at Headlands, I plan to continue work on an experimental film (titled The Lonely Age) and speculative seed catalog about strange seeds and the hope that they offer in an ecologically devastated world. The film is set in the very near future, in which people begin to hear rumors of magical seeds that have washed up on the shores of California. The seeds are rumored to have curative properties, but they are also said to be sentient and capable of communication. How do people desperate for salvation negotiate the terms of their survival? What possibilities exist for humans in advanced Western society to engage in non-exploitative behavior and in the formation of a new “commons”, given our conditioning under capitalism?

Selected Works

Personal Website