video (colour, sound TBC)
3 min 26 sec
Ma Qiusha shot this evocative video on Chang’an Avenue (The Avenue of Eternal Peace), the boulevard that cuts through the centre of Beijing, in front of the Tiananmen Gate and to the north of Tiananmen Square. She was interested in liminal moments of time, just before the street lights are turned off at dawn, and just as they switched on at twilight. Although Tiananmen Square is so weighted by historical and political associations, for Ma Qiusha it is a place filled with memory: she always rode her bicycle along Chang’an Avenue as a young girl travelling from her grandparents’ home in the hutongs to her parents’ apartment. The moment at dawn when the lights are turned off, she says, becomes dim as if the world is ‘covered by ashes from a big fire’, representing her complicated, paradoxical emotions. The soundtrack is ‘The East is Red’ emanating from the Telegraph Building which controls Beijing Time – the standard time across the entire vastness of China, from north to south. Ma Qiusha’s days as a child at school and at home were punctuated by this revolutionary song, broadcast hourly across Chang’an Avenue.