This article takes an ecological approach to Beijing-based artist Yin Xiuzhen’s cross-media artworks, which comprise installations, performances, and inhabitable sculptures. Yin’s creative outputs—from her earliest installations that bemoan the vanishing old Beijing, through her Portable Cities series that uses fabric architecture to convey her impressions of world cities, to her latest “ecoengineering” projects that provide contemplative spaces for viewers to temporarily inhabit—delineate the career trajectory of an individual female artist establishing her position within the contemporary art world. The author’s inquiry suggests that Yin’s reluctance to embrace her gender identity as central to her ecological art reflects her species-based environmental ethics that goes beyond identity politics. Yin’s ecological focus manifests her situated knowledge as a metropolitan resident living and traveling in a glocalized era. While we may debate about the feasibility of (en)gendering her art, many of Yin’s ecology-leaning solutions point to urgent ecological imperatives that are much less negotiable for our continued terrestrial survival.
Metropolis Ecologies: Yin Xiuzhen’s Parallel Cities
Meiling Cheng is professor of theater in critical studies at the School of Dramatic Arts and professor of art and design in the Roski School of Art and Design at the University of Southern California. She is the author of Beijing Xingwei: Contemporary Chinese Time-Based Art (2013).
Meiling Cheng; Metropolis Ecologies: Yin Xiuzhen’s Parallel Cities. positions 1 February 2020; 28 (1): 145–175. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10679847-7913093
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