Lowest Resolution

Zhang Peili


Production date

Object Detail

video (colour, sound), sensor, media player
14 min 46 sec
Zhang Peili often plays with notions of textual instruction, desire, knowledge, and the slippage between the language of authority and everyday experience. In Lowest Resolution (2007) a Chinese sex-education video has been manipulated in order to ensure that the couple simulating various sexual acts cannot be viewed clearly, frustrating the voyeuristic impulse: at any closer than five metres, shown on a tiny screen, the image pixilates and disappears; if you move any further away the image is restored but is too small to be seen. The voice-over consists of bland instructions – it seems more like a series of exercises recommended by a physiotherapist than anything involving passion. The ‘collision position’, for example, is explained thus: ‘Firstly, the male kneels on one leg and leaves the other leg straight. His upper body is kept straight up. The female faces the male and kneels on one leg next to the headboard…After adjusting the position and angle to find the right balance, movement may commence.’ The natural desire to see these sex acts (demonstrated by a couple wearing their underwear) is frustrated by the technology of the video, an absurdist comment both on the contradictory nature of the erotic gaze and the puritanism that still permeates aspects of sexuality in post-Mao China.
Accession number
Artist details