Wei Zhou (b.1993) is a Chinese filmmaker and multidisciplinary artist currently based in Glasgow, UK. She recently graduated with a Master of Fine Art at the Glasgow School of Art in 2021 and previously obtained MSc in Filmmaking and Media Arts at the University of Glasgow and BA in Radio and TV Directing at Human Normal University. Her art practice encompasses video, photography, sound, and text. She often uses autobiographical voice in her work, whether realistic or imaginary, they often reflect on the topics of senses and eroticism. She has exhibited her work in various locations such as Glasgow, London, Changsha, Graz, and an upcoming group show in Hamburg.
I am aiming to use this residency for researching my upcoming project. Intertwining ancient mythology and dystopian science- and speculative fiction, this project is inspired by Huli jing’s story. Huli jing (Chinese: 狐狸精; 'fox spirit') is a Chinese mythological creature that is usually capable of shapeshifting, who may either be benevolent or malevolent spirits, among which the nine-tailed fox, jiuweihu (Chinese: 九尾狐; 'nine-tailed fox'), is the most famous. The rewrite of Huli jing’s story would be mostly emphasised their interspecies transformation ability and control of their own sexuality, which is very subversive and queered. There are many different versions of Huli jing’s story, they have various connotations based on the social backgrounds and women’s status at the time. From Han Dynasty, Huli jing are usually portrayed as beautiful women. They often seduce young men or young women to gain more power for themselves, so they can transform into human shape and eventually become immortal. The story follows her perspective to see the world, her journey of knowing herself through exchanging kisses, fluids, electric currents, intimate connections. This rewrite of Huli jing’s story will be presented in a soft sci-fi visual style, with visually stimulated lighting and futuristic settings.
Inspired by Laure Prouvost’s exhibition Deep See Surrounding You, the 3-channel video installation will be presented as a dark forest, having the monitors hanging from the ceiling attached with furry textile accompany with the scent that smells like a mixture of moss, mushroom, musk and chemicals (gasoline and metal). The audiences will go through different clips of the video work as they continue to walk around in the space. The audio will be played through 4 speakers to create a 3D surrounding space. Incorporate elements of foxes in urban areas, electronic components, mutated human bodies, medicines, the neon-bright colour palette will be presented in the video work. Instead of following a specific order, I would like to think of them as extension/expansion which does not require certain way of viewing.
This work uses frameworks of ancient folkloric stories of the Huli jing (Chinese: 狐狸精; 'fox spirit’). There are many different versions of the Huli jing’s story, they have various connotations based on the social backgrounds and women’s status at the time. Although existing prior, from Han Dynasty2 forward, Huli jings are usually portrayed as beautiful women, that often seduce young men or young women to gain more power for themselves, so they can transform into human shape and eventually become immortal. Zhou’s work also uses theories of posthumanism (Rosi Braidotti, Donna Haraway, Karen Barad, etc.), Deleuze’s Essays Critical and Clinical, and Asian futurism. A wide range of references will be used across different mediums from folklore books, animations, and films, to electronic/experimental music, etc. This project will be a new attempt to shift focus from auto-biographical work to a fictional approach. The story attempts to discuss what the ancient mythological story means in the modern day, human and non/human relations, and how we understand femininity, sexuality, and desires in a non-male-centric and non-human-centric gaze.