The Yiwu Project was initiated by West Heavens, an integrated cross-cultural exchange program between India and China with the aim to foster intellectual and artistic dialogue. The project takes its name from Yiwu, a city located about two hours from Shanghai, and the world's largest market for small commodities. A significant trading hub, Yiwu is known for the Yiwu International Trade City, a large wholesale market complex covering millions of square meters with over 75,000 shops and stalls. Beyond its commercial significance, Yiwu has also become an essential node in China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which aims to strengthen trade and connectivity between Asia, Europe, and Africa. As part of the BRI, Yiwu plays a crucial role in facilitating cross-border trade and promoting economic cooperation. While conventional accounts mainly focus on manufacturing, markets, and trade networks along the New Silk Road, the Yiwu Project sought to approach the city from a fresh perspective and imagine it as a place to think from, not just think about.
The project included a film research residency in Yiwu, resulting in several short videos, photographic work and multimedia installation.
The project also formed the basis of my practice based PhD at the Centre for Research and Education in Art and Media (CREAM), University of Westminster. The PhD constitutes my film, A Terrible Beauty, and a written dissertation, Situating documentary film in a speculative future: an exploration in multi species entanglements (2023). My research explores how human existence and experience may evolve and transform in a world influenced by technological advancements, environmental changes, and other factors. The process allowed me to delve into the conceptual and practical aspects of envisioning and understanding the possibilities and implications of a post-human future.
Read more about the Yiwu Project here.