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  • Hu Wei, Long Time Between Sunsets and Underground Waves, 2020, Single-channel video, color, sound 53’16”, Courtesy the Artist

Hu Wei

Hu Wei (b. 1989, Dalian) graduated from the Dutch Art Institute (DAI) with a MA in 2016, and currently lives and works in Beijing. His practice spans various media, including video, installation, printed images, and painting. Hu’s interest often lies in connecting seemingly unrelated elements between text and visual culture. Through research, translation, imagining, and integration, he presents the multifaceted and speculative connection between form and the political, while blurring the boundaries between reality and fiction. His practice explores the precarious relationship between labor, affect, and value judgments in different political and economic environments, technological conditions, and in the context of specific events. By combining the moving image with an essayistic aesthetic, his work also addresses the dynamics, fragmentation, and synthetic alienation of human (individual and group), non-human, and material beings in our environment throughout the process of historical and natural transformation.

Long Time Between Sunsets and Underground Waves examines the mutual interventions between human activity and nature from the perspective of an island. By adopting a semi-documentary, semi-fictional approach, the work explores the multiple relationships between the island’s economy, geography, and biopolitics. The island seems to be a closed-off, circulatory ecosystem and economy, located not too far offshore from the mainland. The development of tourist infrastructure has just begun, while meanwhile the influence of the tides still imposes limits on people’s daily lives and economic activities. Late at night, the dense forest is haunted by ghosts and apparitions, perhaps because the spirit of the island’s indigenous peoples has not yet dispersed. Under the surface of the sea, legends and superstitious beliefs about mythical creatures and the nomadic Bajau people still circulate—much like the second-generation immigrants residing on the island, lacking clear identities and nationalities, their origins lie far away, in legendary places. Today they are scattered around the Malay Archipelago, searching for a place to live, sometimes far from the mainland or major islands, separated by choice or by force.

Also on display is a piece titled Offshore, which uses flickering light bulbs inside lightboxes to mimic the effects of the island’s unstable electricity supply. In the dimly lit gallery, the unsteady light makes visible human activities taking place deep inside the forest at the dead of night.

Hu Wei