Academy Caochangdi

John Armstrong and Paul Collins

2012, 65:00 minutes, colour, Silent, English and Chinese text


Academy Caochangdi, (2012) is a silent, 65-minute film comprised of a series long takes of a flooded side street in Caochangdi, a village in the north of Beijing. Caochangdi is undergoing considerable changes due to its recent designation as an official ‘art zone,’ with newly constructed gallery compounds, artist residencies and restaurants. The side street in the film is located in a gated, gallery compound where artists Armstrong and Collins spent a two-month residency in 2011. At the end of the street in the film, is a wall belonging to the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre and Ai Wei Wei’s compound. 

The wind plays over still water, dragonflies float by, cars, bicycles, motorcycles and auto-rickshaws drive down the street, making waves, disrupting the reflection. Pedestrians use improvised stepping-stones to negotiate entry or exit into the street.

Thirteen English and Chinese narrative texts flow across the screen and recount stories about art and art education. 

Academy Caochangdi is a silent film. Live, improvised music can be be supplied by the artists. 

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