Unerasable Images

Title: Unerasable Images

Year of production: 2018

Medium: ver1: Video Documentary (3mins50seconds, over 300 screenshots); ver2: Installation with a vintage carousel slide projector

:: Description ::

Unerasable Images presents a series of screenshots from Google Image Search results for the search term “六四”. The keyword is simply equivalent to the numerical values of 6 and 4, a reference to the date of the student-led Tiananmen Square Protest in Beijing. The collected screenshots are reappropriated to erase all the resulted images as negative white space except the colored Lego Tank Man.

I am particularly interested in a specific image of the Lego recreation of the famous scene with the “Tank Man”, blocking the column of advancing tanks, that had been successfully uploaded in 2013 on a famous Chinese web portal. Although it was censored and erased on all online platforms subsequently in China, this image, after four years, is still searchable and it occasionally prioritizes on the first few rows of Google image search.

The project aims to create a temporal and empty networked space where the thumbnail image(s) move within the hidden infrastructural grid and beyond the screenshot’s frame, examining the geopolitics of data circulation, internet censorship, the materiality of image (re)production through complex entanglement of human and nonhuman parameters.

:: Video Documentation ::

* it is more a demo here and the web quality is significantly reduced. Higher resolution version will be available upon request.

:: Exhibition Record(s) ::

  • 2019 (forthcoming), Galleri Image, Aarhus, Denmark
  • 2019 (forthcoming), Stuttgarter Filmwinter – Festival for Expanded Media 2019
  • 2018, The Photographer’s gallery, London, UK

:: Reference ::
Chinese Netizens Defiantly Remember Tiananmen Square
free weibo.com
Tiananmen Square online searches censored by Chinese authorities

:: Acknowledgement ::

* Polly Poon, Magda Tyżlik-Carve