ZHOU Tao, Blue and Red, 2014, Single channel HDV (16:9, colour, with sound), 25 min 14 sec. Courtesy of the artist and Vitamin Archive.
ZHOU Tao, Blue and Red, 2014, Single channel HDV (16:9, colour, with sound), 25 min 14 sec. Courtesy of the artist and Vitamin Archive.


The investigations of the project mostly focus on the public squares in the city centers of both Guangzhou and Bangkok, as well as a heavy metal mine and a rural village which situate in the mountain valley of southern China.

From the old man’s complexion lit by natural light, to the crowd bathed in the color of night; from the square stained blue by LED billboards, and the anti-government protestors reveling all night, to the rust and oxidized-green surface of a rural metal mine; movements of these different characters, even a violent squall colliding with a mountainside — these all create a refraction from the skin to the earth’s crust.

I often think of the strong emotional fluctuations I experience in the filmmaking process and how to endure them. However, at the exact same time one’s senses are being struck and consciousness is constantly being washed out, a blank space emerges; an internal blank surface in which stories and landscapes are regenerated into shapes and forms, returning to each of their own positions. Of course, these stories also exist simultaneously in reality, as do the landscapes and characters. The doubling of the surfaces brings everything back to the starting point; back to the womb.

A “tossing and turning” takes place in this blank surface. The “double” is not something empty or intangible, but a living organism taking the shape of a body while generating movement. The body rolls over and instantly fires all the joints and knuckles; the blood starts to circulate. The two surfaces twist and intertwine, creating a body and its skin. The double images penetrate each other; layers of reflections in the skin melt together. His hair and skin, expression and movement, just as vivid and lively as they could be.

But what about the emotions stirred by the impact of reality? Have they disappeared? No, they’ve become the plasma hidden under the skin. The sensory experience gives them a place to return to – instead of simply turning into grief or cynicism, they become the hematopoietic tissue under the surface of the skin.

I think of image not as a way to document the cruelness of reality, or the psychedelic vertigo of the LED lights in the square, but more as a means of connecting the surface and skin, from double to rebirth.

I wonder why I always submerge myself in a way of filming that’s like skimming the sur- face of the earth; leaving myself open to the shocks of the uncertain rather than following a script. I think of filming as a basic movement of our consciousness — at a time when everyone can take out his or her phone to film, we have all actually developed a new human reflex, along the lines of “thinking” or “seeing”. This act has become so ordinary that we almost neglect it: a new basic movement that allows us to evolve a new sensory antenna. 


Born in 1976, in Changsha, China.
Lives and works in Guangzhou, China.