|2010||Hu Tao,Jia Zhitan,Li Xinmin,Liu Xiaolei,Luo Bing,Shu Qiao,Wang Haian,Wen Hui,Wu Wenguang,Zhang Mengqi,Zhang Ping,Zou Xueping|
Visit the project
“Right now I’m here not just as a filmmaker, or as an artist, but as a person who stayed in China to try to find out what we can do for the people. The memory project is a call to all the artists and young filmmakers to go back to the village where they were born or their parents or grandparents, to go back to their roots. For me and for young artists is very important to find where we are from, how can we contribute or try to build something for this country”
Wu Wenguang, Filmmaker, in a film screening at Duke University.
The Folk Memory Project is an ongoing participatory documentary experience exploring the silenced personal histories of the Great Leap Famine of 1959 to 1961 in China’s countrysides during the Mao era. The project was started in 2010 in Caochangdi Workstation, an independent space based in Beijing founded by documentary filmmaker Wu Wenguang and choreographer Wen Hui. They encouraged young filmmakers, artists, and students with different backgrounds to go back to their families’ rural villages and film the elders’ testimonies about those difficult times. Through long periods of engagement with their relatives and other residents of the villages, the project expanded into a complex and intimate co-creative process in which different practices intertwined past and present histories and generations. Mixing oral history, documentary, dance, and theater, these encounters resulted in community performances and more than 20 documentary films presented locally and internationally. It also led to a transformation of the filmmakers and their villages as they moved from film-making to place-making, from the creation of a reading room for the kids to the installation of memorial stones honoring the death of the village.
The project continues to grow. The archive currently includes over 1,400 interviews made by 70 volunteers in 20 provinces throughout the country.