Headlands Center for the Arts

Connie Zheng

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

Artist Statement

I am a project-based 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 a hybrid film/video/performance project titled The Lonely Age, which is anchored in a world in which mythology and the news feel interchangeable, bio-corporations have privatized all agricultural information, and material entanglements are rampant. A few of the major questions driving this project are rooted in the very serious question of the terms of survival, how we can collectively develop new visual and verbal language around “climate apocalypse,” and whether or not our current environmental crisis can push us to imagine a new “commons,” and more equitable ways of living and relating to one another.

I have already completed Part I of this film, and I look forward to directing, filming, editing, writing the script, and creating the props and costumes for Parts II and III while at Headlands. I am also currently producing an assortment of paintings, objects, texts, and speculative merchandise as part of the ecosystem of this world.

Selected Works

Personal Website