Karibu Islands (2004 - )


Phase I

This project started as a series of video sketches about an imaginary place where time travels backwards. This time-reversal hypothesis leads to numerous possibilities. For example, on Karibu Islands, human lives would be experienced backwards. People would be born old. Many would wake up in a hospital; some in a battlefield; JFK would have come to life when a bullet shot out of his brain. People would become younger and healthier. They would go to work, attend school, and turn into babies. They would leave this world by climbing into their mothers’ wombs. On Karibu Islands, concepts such as economic development and social progress would also take on different meanings.


Phase II

In 2008, I decided to situate this project within the queer movement in Beijing. I organized a series of games and discussions at Beijing's newly established Queer Cultural Center. 11 gay men, 9 lesbians, and 13 straight people participated in the discussions. First, the videos in Phase I were screened to set the tone. Next, each person filled out a “Birth Certificate,” imagining his or her condition at birth on Karibu Islands: age, health, sexual orientation, openness, family composition, assets, wisdom, values, life plans, etc. The groups then got together to compare and discuss their imagined lives. These discussions allowed queer and straight participants to project their ideals onto an imaginary site and approach issues of sexuality from an alternative perspective.



Phase III

In 2010, I organized an online competition in China, asking people to submit proposals for the "Karibu Islands Life-Partner and Family Law." Six proposals were selected and are currently shown in the 4th Auckland Triennial, where viewers are asked to vote for the final law.