For the last ten years I have lived and worked between China and the United States as an anthropologist and filmmaker, exploring everyday aesthetics and collective experience. From demolition sites in Sichuan province to New York City junkyards, I film over extended periods in public spaces, tracing the contours of disappearing lifeworlds, community dynamics and ephemeral relationships, and processes of social and environmental change. As an anthropologist, I employ a fluid, engaged, intuitive approach that invites reciprocal relations between artist, subject, and object. My cinematic muse is the medium’s immersive power, its ability to harness the unplanned and spontaneous, and to draw the viewer into active, self-aware production of meaning. By these means my work seeks to reimagine cinema, transfigure anthropology, and encounter the world anew.
While at Headlands
At Headlands, I will be reflecting on the notions of community and utopia while editing a new feature-length documentary about a radical – and ultimately fatal – vision of freedom that two gay lovers shared and cultivated in Cassopolis County in southwest Michigan in the early 21st Century. Starting in 1996, a vibrant and festive community formed around their efforts to maintain a patch of liberty until the local authorities intervened in late August 2001. The conflict dissolved the community, challenged the definition of liberty, and eventually escalated into an armed standoff between these two men and the authorities – including the FBI – during the week just before September 11th, 2001.
While conducting post-production on this documentary, I will also develop an original screenplay for a narrative film inspired by the events and documentary material my research tracks and unveils.