Secret City - PhMuseum

Secret City

Jin Li

2015 - Ongoing

The Secret City project is an on-going work. It was developed through translating the memory of my personal experience into photographs. Memory for me is a dilemma, there are lots of experiences that I am unwilling to face but cannot be ignored, including leaving, losing and forgetting. This project is a way to face these experiences. I deliberately erased the space-time relationship in works. When recalling my memory, I tried to capture the feelings behind each experience that cannot be forgotten, and each photo here is a conversion of a fragmented corresponding experience. Using different materials in scenes, I tried to photograph them as fragments of my flashback. Combining these fragments together, it produces a fictional city that explores the memory, emotion and history of an individual’s experience. Facing personal memory, I am interested in how functions of the image apply, and how scenery influences the image itself.

These 10 images in this group were selected. The works focus on three aspects: space, objects, and body. Each photo has an independent narrative, and the concept of a fictional city is formed by combining them. I am interested in things that has been both familiar and uncomfortably strange when I look at them. Then I was attempting to associate the idea with my own memory to translate a reality that I feel both familiar and fearful about. In other words, I am trying to build a virtual city by using those real things, and I am testing how an ambiguous narrative in my work can be taken shape when putting these images together.

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  • This image translated from an odd experience when I was a child.

  • A portrait with moving eyeballs. It was inspired by the way that people to shoot during Victorian era.

  • This image without individual’s details is trying to show how it likes when emotions grow out from body.

  • Photographed the pyramid I made, it is trying to show a fictional landscape.

  • This image is a metaphor. It likes an emotional growth when I miss him who used to live here.

  • Photographed the sculpture I made, it is trying to create a city outline that belongs to my memory.

  • This image was inspired from the mound on the roadside of my hometown at night.

  • This image and experience are trying to show a relationship between body and objects.

  • This image is trying to show creatures in my fictional city.

  • This image is trying to show creatures in my fictional city.


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