Dance with Farm Workers
2001 / Video / 15 min
Dance with Farm Workers is a documentary about a rather unconventional performance of the same name (unconventional inasmuch as the project involved not only actors and dancers, but also 30 Beijing farm workers from the poorer regions of Sichuan province). In addition, both the rehearsals and performance took place in the production hall of a former textile factory that had been threatened to be demolished as a result of Beijing’s modernization project, as had thousands of such production halls before it. The superbly fit farm laborers, who had come to the city when they had lost hope that conditions would improve at home, have been the supporting pillars of this modernization. The performance was initiated and organized by choreographer Wen Hui and artists Song Dong, Yin Xiuzhen, and Wu Wenguang. They invited 10 professional dancers and actors, three of them (a French woman and two Americans) are foreigners residing in Beijing, as well as 30 farm laborers working on building sites around Beijing, whose initial sole wish was to be paid 30 yuan a day (this was promptly fulfilled). It was only some time later that they discovered that they, the “lowest of the low”, would be standing at center stage.
Memories and Snatches of the Living Dance Studio
1999-2012 / Video / 20min
Living Dance Studio is an ideal gathering place for all sorts of artists, writers, and young people to create artworks, and a 20-year-old independent dance group in China. Founded by Wen Hui and Wu Wenguang in Beijing in 1994, it advocates collaboration with different art schools with an open mind and tries to express the stories and experiences associated with contemporary reality and historical memory through dance, drama, and the integration of a variety of visual media. Over the past 20 years, the Living Dance Studio has independently developed nearly 20 contemporary dances, and this piece represents a distillation of the finest episodes of their dances since foundation.
Dance with Third Grandmother
2015 / Video / 15min
The Third Grandmother was named Su Meiling, an auntie of Wen Hui’s father. Wen Hui hadn’t known of her existence until 2011; for her father had never mentioned this grandmother to her in his life. In early 2011, Wen Hui returned to his hometown in Yunnan to trace his family history, and for the first time met Su Meiling the Third Grandmother, then 84 years old, in a mountain-surrounded village called Dahebian. She seemed to have been waiting for her for the past 50 years. She told Wen Hui the family’s history, and resultingly, stories and the purest of unconscious feelings emerged from the heart of Wen Hui.