Video: Culture and Public life [Wang Nanming, 2002]


In concept art, videos differ from movies. In movies, frames of dynamic plots go first and then voices. Voices follow close upon frames. But, in concept video (even silent), voices go first, and frames are used to prove the validity of voices. Meaning is invariably required in videos. Images on cameras turn to be the traces of images in videos. Like the meaning in pictures, the meaning of videos as dynamic frames also lies in its trace and context focus.

Cui Xiuwens Ladys is a live video that lasts only six minutes, and yet breaks two taboos from which we find its value. In it, several toilet scenes of females engaged in erotic services were shot secretly in a Beijing famous club she slipped into. Some were doing their makeup carefully, some were changing their underwear and brassieres, and some were chatting idly after entertaining a client. Here was like a lounge behind an erotic stage. More value as data mirrors a real side of the present sex business. Sex industry in China remains in an underground state. It has been strictly prohibited time and again, but still has spread over every corner of urban and rural areas in China-----the biggest conflict between system and reality China has encountered since the opening-up. Cui Xiuwen took the risk of shooting this video. That is, she put forth a proposal that the community might as well manage this industry rather than storm against it as far as the social condition is concerned, because it is conducive to the maintenance of social order. On the surface, this is an issue of how to cope with sex industry. But in essence, this is an issue of how to deal with sexual right, an issue never discussed in the history of China. So when this video was presented at the art exhibition of Today News in Hong Kong, the invasion of privacy was questioned by the audience in such a free and legal community. However, the invasion of privacy turns out to be an issue that we are not entitled to raise in the mainland of China. In this case, a burning issue arises as to how females in sex industry protect their own rights and how Cui Xiuwen gets legal protection for her own rights. Cui Xiuwens video becomes a social test to the status of individual rights. She has paid a dear price for her work as it brought a lawsuit against her.