Below is a video of Chinese model Wu Ting Ting semi, not really lip synching to a Mandarin rendition of Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” while donning a sequined dress that contains the Head and Shoulders logo misspelled. Like we said, it sounds strange on paper but the video is actually beautiful.
Shanzhai Biennial is a trio based in New York made up of Cyril Duval, Babak Radboy, and stylist Avena Gallagher. They describe their aesthetic in an interesting way: “multinational brand posing as an art-project posing as an multinational brand posing as a biennial.” Nice.
They have been inspired by China's "Shanzhai" culture in which people make imitation goods and pass them off as if they were high quality, valuable merchandise. The video above is a statement about corporations and consumerism, turning brand symbols against themselves. “Selling things is always a drag on the aura of a brand,” said Radboy.
The work was made for a group exhibit curated by Josh Kline entitled ProBio that is part of Expo 1: New York at MoMa PS1, a show that is displaying larger works with the theme of “dark optimism.” For the rendition in the video, Helen Feng (who has been deemed the Debbie Harry of China) from the Beijing band Nova Heart laid down the vocals. The backing track also has an interesting story.
“We were searching desperately for a version in Mandarin and finally found a recording on an obscure and outdated Chinese social networking site by a pretty busted looking queen in his 40s—so there are four levels of separation there.” Radboy said, according to Nowness.
See the exhibition at MoMA PS1 through September 2.