I recently came across this video installation by Chinese artist, Wang Gongxin. It’s showing at the Guggenheim NY: ‘Sky of Beijing—Digging a Hole in New York’, 2017.
The genesis of this piece was a mirror installation created by Gongxin in 1995. After living in New York for nearly 12 years, Gongxin returned to China and created a video installation in the floor of his courtyard house. He dug a hole, 3 meters deep, and placed a video monitor at the bottom. It showed the sky in Brooklyn and was aptly named, ‘The Sky of Brooklyn.’ There was also sound featured, a brief dialogue: “What are you looking at?” and then, “It’s nothing. Just the sky.”
Both pieces play on the idea of the remote distance between the two countries; the expression ‘digging a hole to China’, as the only direct (and impossible) way to get there, and the disparate cultures Gongxin experienced and its impact on identity. Yet, it’s also an eloquent meditation that despite borders, distance and differences, we all live under the same sky.