Rabid Dogs (video still)
8 min, 52 sec.
Cao Fei examines the commercialized and gendered aspects of China's new "linked-up-with-the-world" worlding by adorning the female body with the cosmopolitan fashion of Burberry’s trademark plaid, marker of luxury precisely because its manufacturer claims the genuine article is not made in China, although knock-off copies and many other Western name brands are produced by Chinese female factory labor. In Cao’s video Rabid Dogs, actors in Beijing opera-style makeup perform a parody of the city’s new class of office workers as groveling "rabid dogs." This reverse anthropomorphism resonates with the oft-repeated story of the colonial park in Shanghai with a sign forbidding the entrance of both Chinese and dogs. Cao’s artist statement for her video exudes resignation and indignation: "We are surely poor dogs, willing to act as animals and locked in the cage of modernization. When will we have the courage to bite our bosses ruthlessly, taking off our masks, peeling off our fur, and becoming a group of real rabid dogs?" In Super Lights–Dog New Year New York (2006), Yan Lei further extends the critique by juxtaposing another still from Cao's Rabid Dogs with the facade of Sotheby's auction house in New York; Chinese contemporary art has become yet another international commercial commodity.
Introduction, Figure 0, Page 37
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Is Format Of:
Wu Hung and Christopher Phillips, eds., Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China (Chicago: Smart Museum, University of Chicago, 2004), 125.
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