Whose Utopia Installation


Video and mixed media installation

Video (Whose Utopia): 20min. 9sec. Video (Interview): 35min. 29sec.

What is this weird dream where workers play electric guitar, a dancer dressed as an angel seems to be floating and mimes undulate amidst a factory’s assembly lines? Whose Utopia Installation, a whimsical three-part video made by Cao Fei in 2006, plunges us into the mechanical, disorderly poetry of a quiet kinesic celebration.

To make the video, Cao Fei asked factory workers about their aspirations, suggesting that they become artists and express their creativity and imagination. The film evinces the artist's desire to turn a place of hard work into a liberating utopia for a few moments, but it also takes a critical look at the daily life of Chinese workers. For example, at one point the words “My Life Is Not a Dream” can be read in Chinese on the T-shirts they wear.

Cao Fei’s video Whose Utopia Installation, which is in the Pinault Collection, was shown during the 2009 exhibition "Un certain état du monde ?" (“A Certain State of the World?”) at the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture in Moscow.