Screening of Dragonfly Eyes in Asia Society Switzerland

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Serena Jung in Conversation with Uli Sigg, October 22, 2019. © Asia Society Switzerland 

Xu Bing’s first feature film, Dragonfly Eyes, was screened at the Asia Society in Switzerland on October 22nd, 2019. From 2013 to 2017, Xu Bing created the fictional film using only surveillance camera footage. There were neither actors nor cameramen. All the pictures were selected from over 10,000 hours of footage that he and his team collected from public live-streaming sites.


After the screening, Uli Sigg, board member of Asia Society Switzerland, joined a conversation with the audience. Having first met Xu Bing in the late 1990s in New York, Sigg was astonished by Xu’s Book from the Sky, printed with 3500 intriguing characters that only looked like Chinese. As Sigg states, “[Xu] is a person who [transcends] tradition—he works with [it], yet takes [it] somewhere new.” 


Even though the film Dragonfly Eyes has a plot, Xu Bing did not actually have a particular narrative in mind before the process. The story emerged in parallel with the collection of the material. The movie reflects fragments of reality, but the audience does not really know where the footage comes from and what happens next. “We all make up our own story,” said Sigg.