The Times are Summoning

Meiya Lin


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2 min 28 sec
The Times are Summoning features rows of uniformed children in Young Pioneer scarves lined up to perform the compulsory exercises experienced by generations of Chinese school students. The work is based on Lin’s own memories of these enforced collective fitness routines, which still today are a feature of every Chinese school’s daily timetable. Rather than representing the disciplined unity of the masses, though, in Lin’s work the choreographed symmetry goes awry as the children reveal their individuality, their lack of coordination, and in many cases their utter disinterest in such an enterprise. The artist’s camera pans slowly across the lines of children in their yellow shirts and red scarves, and then back again, moving in for close-up shots of their faces which reveal the individuality within the apparent conformity. Lin has removed the background, leaving the children performing their calisthenics in what she has called a ‘nowhere land’.
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