Smoke and Fire, 2018, single channel 4K video (color, sound), 31'17"

In Smoke and Fire, Wang Tuo portrays the image of a migrant worker who exists simultaneously in both worlds of a two-part intertwined reality. In one world, this migrant worker is in a warehouse of movie props with an extremely vague sense of time and space. By reading tales of the miraculous and the legendary, he is projecting himself into multiple texts, “practicing” it again and again in reality or in his imagination. In the other world, the artist is conducting a sample observation of this migrant worker in a small town in Northeast China—recording his daily life, his emotions, and his journey back home. The documentation has slowly turned into a dramatic “rehearsal” of a recent violent incident in China that has been widely discussed. In this narrative on revenge, healing the deep-seated wound seems to have become a ritual that needs to wait. Through these embodied corporeal “counterattacks”, the artist implies a rupture between social and internal identities, as well as the latent contradiction between the individual trauma and the monstrous yet powerless reality.
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