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January 8, 2012

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Artist takes on world of closed circuit TV

CLOSED circuit TV seems to be everywhere in cities around the world these days, monitoring traffic, streets, subways, parks, stores, offices, workplaces, even children's rooms. It's always there and you never know when you might be on camera.

The CCTV phenomenon is the theme of new media artist Zhang Qing in a solo exhibition at H Space at M50 on Moganshan Road. The work "Closed Circuit Television" was produced during his year as Glenfiddich artist in residence in Scotland. It includes concept art, installations of monitors and real and imaginary scenes captured on camera, blurring the distinction between what's real and what's not.

Since 2002, 75 artists from 16 countries have taken part in the program. Shanghai native Zhang is the second Chinese artist selected.

"Today closed circuit systems are widely used in cities, often as a proof of certain crimes. Obviously such supervision and monitoring ranges from the upper levels to the lower levels of a society or company," Zhang says. "But when the recording is done from a different angle, then it's hard to judge the truth and the fake."

One work uses CCTV-style footage taken at the Glenfiddich Whisky Factory. In the video he creates a Western "model worker" based on Chinese standards; model worker awards are given for achievements and contributions to socialist society.

Zhang's video is made in Chinese documentary style and dubbed in Chinese to describe the man's noble work - creating a collision between two cultural ideas.

"From Zhang's works, I can see that no one is doing a great job in the literal sense. We only do pretty jobs to feed the monitors that are faithfully taking care of us all. The monitor helps us to fake ourselves," says art critic Lu Xinghua.

Date: Through January 28Address: H Space, Bldg 18, 50 Moganshan RdTel: 6359-3923


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