One morning, I don’t remember when, I woke up in a sweat, my heart pounding in alarm. I was left only with a vague memory.
In my dream, I appear, clothed; I come and go along these familiar alleys. I revisit my old school, the dazzle of lights emanating from the cinema, the riverside where I used to swim, the rooftops where I once went to get a breath of fresh air, the winding pathways… all is in darkness, unattended, there are no friends or relatives to be found anywhere. Where do all of these bubbles and floating objects come from? It becomes difficult to breathe, I fail to grasp anything, I scream but no sound can be heard…
Near the end of 2005, camera in tow, I endeavored to return to my hometown in order to photograph it. For better or for worse, my town had not yet been completely leveled and the people had not yet been entirely relocated. Despite the many ruins, the city’s activity could still be discerned. As for construction on the new town, that had long since been completed. Everything was so enthralling! I was far too busy looking up old friends and acquaintances to take any pictures. In the summer of 2006, I traveled by boat to the Three Gorges Dam. All along the route, in Zigui, Wushan, Yunyang, Fengjie and Wanxian, I photographed fragments of these riverside places.
This year I have returned several times. Each time, I felt it was a race against time. Thrilling slogans could be read everywhere, painted on the walls: “Let us tear down half a city in one hundred days”. They were destroying the old town so fast, leaving an atmosphere of death and decomposition everywhere. In taking these photographs, I had to hold my breath and, once taken, would make my escape.
I don’t intend to dwell on the meaning to be found in my photography. What is important for me is that I came from that town. It is about all that we have in common there: our accent, our spicy coriander, the nod we give each other, a friendly signal to say hello when we pass one another on the street, these streets that we have traveled alongside our ancestors, that have herded us along together… this series was created for all of that. It will be my personal memoir!
In 2009, it will be among the last settlements to be evacuated of people and submerged under the waters of the Three Gorges Dam, uprooting its inhabitants forever. Kaixian, the 1800 years of my childhood home’s history, expunged.
”Uma cidade escuta desolada O canto de um pássaro ferido É o único pássaro da cidade Que o gato devorou pela metade E o pássaro pára de cantar O gato pára de ronronar E de lamber o focinho E a cidade prepara para o pássaro Maravilhosos funerais E o gato que foi convidado Segue o caixãozinho de palha Em que deitado está o pássaro morto Levado por uma menina Que não pára de chorar Se soubesse que você ia sofrer tanto Lhe diz o gato Teria comido ele todinho E depois teria te dito Que tinha visto ele voar Voar até o fim do mundo Lá onde o longe é tão longe Que de lá não se volta mais Você teria sofrido menos Sentiria apenas tristeza e saudades Não se deve deixar as coisas pela metade”. (Jacques Prévert)
When it comes to communication, anything is possible.
Optus, the second largest telecommunications company in Australia, has a long association with nature so M&C Saatchi, Sydney set about exploring communication between humans and animals, specifically Humpback whales.“Whale song is a form of communication,” says Ben Welsh, executive creative director, M&C Saatchi Sydney. “It’s a form of communication that the scientists at The University of Queensland have been able to decipher and learn. I was intrigued by this fact and so we asked ourselves whether it would be possible to emulate a male humpback: to write our own love song and then play it, using the instruments of an orchestra? Could we serenade a humpback ourselves? Then imagine what could happened if the whales were to hear our song. We thought that would prove that when it comes to communication, anything is possible.”