New A Life, Still Submission!
Savannah College of Art and Design
Photography, archival Print
19.5” X 19.5” X 2”
China is a country where authority plays a dominant part in the political and social discourse. The authority creates signs that are highly politically charged and contain ideological messages. I see these signs as “myth,” not in a literary sense, but rather, as Roland Barthes addressed in Mythology, a language strategy utilized by institutions of authority to signal a naturalized speech that conceals ideological messages. In order to challenge the myths that are created by authority to provide univocal messages, I explore various ways to transform traditional Chinese signs and endow them with new meanings that address the social and political issues in contemporary China.
Peach blossom, in Chinese culture, symbolizes a utopian view of life where people live harmoniously with the environment. In this piece, I photographed a decaying peach blossom with a QR code, which is linked with news about environmental issues in contemporary China. The QR codes, resembling traditional Chinese seals, not only express my criticism of Chinese authority but also allow the viewers to leave commentary. Through the processes of deconstruction and reconstruction, this piece critically addresses the relationship between authority and myths, and provides an alternative to the univocal, authoritative approach employed by the Chinese government.
Short bio about the artist
Zhenjie Dong is a Chinese artist and photographer exploring ways to express her social and political concerns through photography. A BFA graduate of the Communication University of China, Zhenjie Dong recently graduated with MFA in photography at Savannah College of Art and Design. She has spoken at TEDxCreative Coast 2012. Her project QR Series has been featured on numerous websites including Hey Hot Shot!, Feature Shoot and Design Boom.