Monday, June 05, 2006

Love in the Age of Big Construction II: Han Bing's Multimedia Peformance Installation

Beijing based artist Han Bing's multimedia performance installation, "Love in the Age of Big Construction II," opened the Soldiers at the Gate: China 拆那 (Demolish There) exhibition at the Dashanzi International Art Festival this May, offering a titillating cocktail of sensual arousal and cerebral stimulation. For three hours, the mostly nude artist used gender-blurring wiles to seduce and subdue the enormous steel clawed arm of a backhoe--a quintessential machine of destruction and construction, typically used in sites of demolition and building worldwide. On a bed of white cotton, fluffy like cumulous clouds, beneath a diaphanous white canopy that hinted of wedding night rituals, and behind a red neon rope and construction cones, for three straight hours Han Bing caressed, kissed, snuggled and stroked the hulking metal machine. His video "Age of Big Construction," projected ghostly images of brutal demolition, the frail hopes of construction, the elan of laboring people, and the uneuphemized realities of life in a zone of ongoing destruction and construction, onto his body and against the curtain behind him to the rhythm of industrial noise and the warnings of nature pushed to its limits. In a move that repudiates the logic of "fight fire with fire," or as it's said in Chinese, "use poison to fight poison," the artist embraced a strategy reminiscent of pacifist civil disobedience, employing a dialectic of antinomies to create a space for overcoming. The softness of the bed of cotton is used to overcome the hardness of the machine, weightless clouds to hold up tons of steel, sensuality to overcome the numbed philistine quality of the contemporary age, Eros to tame the death drive, seduction to overcome violation, feminine generativity to overcome masculine destructivity.

Check out Han Bing's website. It's spicy HOT.

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