Ruth Macdougall, Scotland - UK

Dear Gao Brothers

Attached to this e-mail you will find several images of a super 8 film that I shot in January of this year whilst travelling in China with a friend. On the first evening of the visit we went walking in the centre of Beijing. It was bitterly cold and yet there were people standing out in the cold, selling kites. These simple kites can be found everywhere in Beijing and these people had attached many of the kites together with string, perhaps 100 kites. The string of kites stretched high into the sky until they were completely swallowed by the black of the night. As there was no wind, it was difficult to understand how the kites remained stretched up towards the heavens, indeed it seemed as if there was someone or something in the night sky, which was holding onto the other end. Many people stopped to stare up into the night sky and the trail of kites that seemed to go on to infinity. The image stayed with me for the duration of the month long visit to China.

On the second last day in China I went to visit the Great Wall. The wall was completely deserted, not another soul. I decided to shoot a film of my friend trying to fly a long string of kites from the wall. Most of my previous work has been performance to camera, simple gestures or actions that hold within them an element of endurance, which is reflected in their repetition. The kite flying was difficult as there was little wind that day and several long climbs up the huge sets of stairs was necessary in order to pick up some momentum. The light, playful kites on the wall seemed to be in direct contrast with the social history of the wall, which is tied up in territory, exclusion, and deaths of millions of men as they dedicated their lives to its construction.

I was supposed to embark on a 3 month visual arts residency with the Long March Foundation in Beijing from October – December of this year but I have had to post pone this residency due to a lack of funding. However, I am committed to creating a collaborative work in China with the Long March in Spring of next year.

I realise that my submission is late but the information posted on the AN Magazine web site was misleading and I thought that I would be able to apply later in September. I now realise that this is not the case but I hope you will enjoy looking at the images and will perhaps consider them for your project.

Best Wishes, Ruth Macdougall (Scotland - UK)

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last changed: 26. 03. 2021