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During r:ead’s second period of stay, I felt the potential of art even more. In the first period of stay, I could only get a very superficial impression of Japan. But now something evolved that strongly appealed to me. Most important is that I myself underwent a change. I decided to watch this closely and record the process of my own change in the form of a film. It is a film that observes a change of mind.

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The “House of Art” while war is just around the corner


Artists from four countries gathered and interaction arose among us. This is very interesting for me and the r:ead project raises my spirit. For example, as the Taiwanese artist Chia-En Jao and I are both racially Chinese, we had common topics to talk about, such as ancestors, culture, the Chinese Civil War of the past, the current process of democratization in both regions, and so on.

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Ning Li

Born in 1972. Theater director, film director, sculptor, and physical performance artist.

After entering the sculpture program at Shandong Art School in 1993, he began studying modern dance and performance with renowned choreographer Xing Jin.

In 1997 he founded his own physical arts collective, J-town Physical Guerrillas, which has performed throughout Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Macau among others. Furthermore, he established the experimental film laboratory Made in J-town Film Lab in the same year. Through both he has been constantly seeking ways to push the boundaries of exploration in film and performance in China.

As part of his long-term creative concept, Li is developing ways to interweave three strands into an entirely new pedagogy and curriculum of physical training he calls “Drawing Life Theater”: researching new ways of training the body, creating work based on your personal background and visual arts theories of observation. Currently he is practicing this training method in various schools and community centers throughout China in order to build a bridge between average citizens and the contemporary arts.

His most famous film so far, “Tape”, has been awarded the Excellence Award at the 7th China Independent Film Festival and been shown at film festivals all over the world. In the field of theatre, he won the prize for Best Cross-Border Experiment at the Beijing Fringe Festival 2011.