“Across the Great Wall, we can reach every corner in the world “… or not?

Ren Tao


THE CAGE is an artistic installation made for reflections on China's world-strictest Internet censorship system. A wooden bird cage is placed in front of a white wall, and stands on a rotating platform. Three components make up the cage inner: The bottom stands images of China's ten greatest infrastructure projects from 200-2018, depicting the flourishing industrial development; Images of the Great Wall are placed at the top, which resembles the "Great Firewall". Between two parts, several twitter-logo like birds images hang in the air. They symbolize the Chinese netizens groups restricted in the cage. All elements are printed and cut on Chinese traditional parchment. Two LED lamps, which lighten up the whole project, are fixed in the middle hollow space. The installation is around 45cm tall, 20cm²; wide. All elements are designed in Photoshop, printed and cut by hand. Hardwares are available online.

Alongside the cage is a piece of paper attached on the wall, printing "Across the Great Wall, we can reach any corner of the world" with its Chinese translation. This is the first email China officially sent to the world in 1987.

This project expresses such an idea: When voices of Chinese netizens cannot be heard, they lose individual personalities on International social platforms, and eventually become a vague concept of mass collection (based on imaginary and limited information). In this way, the artist regards the system as a bird cage, through which communication between "human and human" can never happen. The artist asks the audience one question: "The country is developing by leaps and bounds, however with the "Great FIrewall" above the land, where is China going, as time passes? 

IMA/IMB Shanghai
Capstone Studio (Shanghai)
Culture,Social Good/Activism