The Three Gorges, 3rd Edition
4-channel video installation with ship-structure
Organhaus Gallery, Chongqing, China, June 2011
The Three Gorges of the Yangzi River are one of China’s most celebrated natural wonders. The area attracts thousands of tourists each year who come on ships to gaze at bizarre rock formations, spot poems that have been carved into cliff walls and learn about China’s ancient history. This area is thought to be the cradle of Chinese culture. Its original appearance has been altered – or “edited” – in recent years through the construction of a dam that has increased the flow of the river. Besides producing an enormous amount of electric energy this intrusion into nature’s creation improves ship navigation on the main river and makes smaller tributaries passable for the first time. Despite the inundation of cultural heritage sites and of traditional villages and towns – forcing millions of people to relocate – tourism agencies have predicted an increase in tourist numbers. We, as humans, alter our landscapes so that they better fit our purposes and our liking. This raises questions about our understanding of the natural world in centuries and millenniums to come. Will we reconsider and try to preserve it in its original form, will we change it so it better serves our causes, or will it vanish altogether, as a result of our growing needs for space and resources, to become a memory conveyed solely in a virtual world, where it can be edited as we please, to be glorified or mocked in an exaggerated super-nature.
My video installation takes a playful view at these future perspectives, while at the same time provoking thought about our self-righteousness to rule over our planet, use, exploit and adapt the natural world to satisfy the outrageous needs we have acquired to secure our extravagant lifestyles.