Shooting In The Dark


Surface Tensions 2020
Part 1: Alt-Truths, More Than Fiction

Window installation of new performance & remote residency carried out under COVID lockdown in China (performance documentation) May 2020
29 May – 5 June 2020

Opening: Friday 29 May 2020 – 8-11pm

14 March – 3 May 2021

Online, part of POW! Festival

#surfacetensions2020 #movingimage #artunderlockdown #ST20
During a remote residency in China under COVID19 lockdown, the artist duo Hijack carried out a series of durational performances in public spaces in their respective cities, using poetic gestures to express the absurdities of the new daily realities they’ve experienced in China.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the artist duo, Hijack (Jing Xie & Qiong Zhang) was forced to cancel their planned residency in Folkestone and instead, carried out a remote residency in their respective hometowns in China. This new body of work came out of this highly unusual period, a creative process that translates quotidian experiences into a set of poetic/absurd gestures and metaphors, divided into three works, ‘Shooting In The Dark 白日摸瞎’, ‘Bend The Earth 扳沙’, and ‘Salt The Wound 伤口撒盐’.

‘Shooting In The Dark 白日摸瞎’ was a durational performance carried out by Jing Xie from dawn until noon in a busy market of Makou Town in Hunchuan (a city nearby Wuhan), and Qiong Zhang from dusk until dark at The City Plaza – Dongfanghong Square in Lanzhou. The artists’ heads were covered in flower pots and they blind touched their way through a busy street market and public square. Qiong touched from the sunset to the dark, while Jing touched before the dawn to sunrise.

‘Bend The Earth 扳沙’ was a durational performance carried out by Qiong Zhang in the city of Lanzhou, and Jing Xie at Makou Town under the strict lockdown restrictions of their respective hometowns in China. Consisting of two performances presented side by side, at dusk, Jing Xie jumps up and down on a mattress situated upon a large sand mound. As passerbys calmly walk past during their daily exercise, she stomps and kicks at the mattress to bury it into the sand. Qiong Zhang’s performance takes place in Lanzhou, in a newly built residential area. As cars and motorcycles pass by, she uses her hands to dig into the sand, jumping to try and get off the ground.

‘Salt The Wound 伤口撒盐’ was a durational performance carried out at the banks of two major rivers in China: The Yellow River & Yangtze River, near the artist’s hometowns. For her performance, Qiong Zhang walks along The Yellow River. As she walks adjacent to the river’s gentle flow, she uses a knife to carve a line along the river bank, marking a trail on the water’s edge. Near the embankment of the Yangtze River, Jing Xie gradually pours salt onto a wall of slowly melting ice, as boats and onlookers pass her by.

Gallery Image Credits: Stills from film by Hijack

The original artworks have been re-formatted for CT20’s YouTube Channel, screened digitally as part of POW! Fringe Festival 2021 and Surface Tensions: ‘Art Under Lockdown’.

Sunday 7 March 2021, 11am: ‘白日摸瞎 Shooting in the Dark’, Hijack [May 2020, China]

Sunday 14 March 2021, 11am: ‘扳沙 Bend the Earth’, Hijack [May 2020, China]

Sunday 21 March 2021, 11am: ‘伤口撒盐 Salt the Wound’, Hijack [May 2020, China]

Hijack is an independent artist collective initiated by Jing Xie and Qiong Zhang in 2016 and intensively collaborated from 2018. Hijack is the action about to happen and might end at any time. It is the moment emergent and inevitable. Their practice focuses on consumerism, power, technology through performance, intervention, moving image, devising theater and text. Their works tend to present the sense of humor with daily life experiences and poetic satirical moments to construct different situations and worlds, reflecting on how political constructions and social orders impact the relationship between individuals and others, and how individual behaviors are shaped by those. Their recent projects have present concerns and reflections on various crises that human beings facing together. By placing individuals in different social networks and environments, they push concealed and ignored problems to emerge.
Surface Tensions 2020 presents art that is deeply immersed in the traumas, struggles and violence of our time, from the perspectives of those on the margins, subverting established powers and narratives in a collective act of creative resistance, and questioning our relationships to Western identity and nationalism.

ST20 Part I: ‘Alt-Truths, More than Fiction’ – Female-led Expanded Cinema is a site for experimentation & activism. Running from April – June 2020, the programme brings together five artists working in the expanded field of moving image: Hio Lam Lei, Sharon Daniel, Hijack, Jing Xie and Renèe Helèna Brown. Using the format of ‘documentaries’ and through a feminist epistemological lens, they freely and playfully juxtapose narratives, myths, archival materials and personal testimonies, using devices such as satire & fictive constructions to explore the unstable nature of perceived realities, cultural identities, structural racism, consumption, romance, and our relationships to Western nationalism.

Surface Tensions 2020 is curated by Nina Shen-Poblete and Tomas Poblete, produced by CT20.

The project is kindly supported by Arts Council England, Roger De Haan Charitable Trust and Creative Folkestone.

Bend The Earth: Absurdities of Everyday Life

After ‘Shooting in the Dark’ was presented to audiences for the first time in Folkestone in May 2020, Nina (CT20’s co-director) invited the artists to share their personal perspectives on their latest performance, and the new daily realities they’ve experienced in China.