Apr 17
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The first piece I saw was a 20 min video by Ma Yongfeng called “Beijing Zoological Garden (2005).” This video pretty much takes you on your own trip to the zoo, only there’s something strange about it. The Circle peep-hole like shape of the view makes you feel like a hunter, or stalker. The music is suspenseful even, really felt like something bad was going to happen at any minute. The animals seemed to be moving slower than normal, and the creepy music made me think this might have been about endangered animals at the zoo. After about 10 min watching these different animals, I could even swear I smelled animal feces, like I was really at the zoo.

I was kind of disappointed that there weren’t more videos to view. However, I would like to say something about the video we saw in class with the fish. I really liked the orange shapes, and the movement of the color of the fish in the wash cycle. If you can look past the fact that these are live fish, you can actually really enjoy the beauty of the video. I also took in the idea that goldfish don’t live very long, and that makes me assume that koi might not either. This film also could have been symbolic for the cycles of life, and that life is short. It all depends in how you choose to view it. Even though it might be wrong of me to think so, it was a very interesting idea that I enjoyed. It made me think.
Apr 17
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The artist Ma Yongfeng uses the national and international problem of nature as his subject matter. His works depict false natural scenes that are supposed to be used to house animals and seem to have a kind of tranquil and solitary feel to them more like a prison than freedom. His works show a room that is false, trees that are not healthy, plants that are not unified and walls that are painted or printed with fake surroundings making the image look shallow and gloomy. Ma's images are much like scenery from a horror film or a dark play, the overall tone of the work is much more saddening and confusing with juxtapositions of natural and artificial human elements, showing that human solutions to the things that we have ruined are often times worse than stopping our "progress" in development or destruction.
Apr 17
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A video documentation, by Ma Yonfeng of domestic animals, in the zoo and not their natural habitat, displays the way in which the rapidly and ever so changing urban development, has led to these animals being confined to a small space out of harms way. It challenges us to think about the future and where will many of the animals end up do to pollution and people damaging the surrounding environment. In realization of this we know that most animals will be forced to live in an unnatural environment in the zoo, where they will forever be confined with a small amount of space.
Apr 17
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The piece Immaterialism of Garden by Ma Yongfeng gives a bold statement about the Chinese culture. We view a small man-made ecosystem used to house animals, whose natural environment is being taken from them as a result of rapid urbanization. These ecosystems are made to ensure life to wild (or should I say domesticated?) animals. How many animals can fit and how long can it go until these 10 by 10 cubicles of life cannot contain anymore? The most intriguing part of this is the image of smaller cages inside the ecosystem suggesting that once all of nature is consumed, perhaps these mini ecosystems will be mashed for more urbanization. His film, Beijing Zoological Garden, reflects this same attitude, as we see slow pans of a zoo and it’s imprisoned animals, all with a dreary, brooding music.
Apr 17
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One interesting piece of work was the video installation by Ma Yongfeng called Beijing Zoological Garden. This video, which shows a wide variety of animals in man-made habitats, is more than just a glimpse of wildlife. Yongfeng uses a round frame on this video, which gives the feeling that the animals are being closely examined. The musical effects also further enhance the visual aspects of the piece. They add to the intensity of the animal life and help draw the viewer further into the video. This film also has some symbolic connections to life in China. It relates to the idea that China’s development is causing the destruction of many of these natural habitats, stressing the fact that these man-made homes are quickly becoming used more frequently.
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