China’s club scene emerged in the early 1990s as a critical space for collective gathering and an environment for individuals to freely express themselves within the communist country. However, the alternative nature of nightclubs has diminished in subsequent decades as China has relaxed its economic policies. “While they were once the realm of intellectuals and artists as a place to exchange ideas, nightclubs are no longer radical spaces,” says Chen.
“For artist, these enchanted bodies immersed in the smoke and laser beams reflect the current mood in society today – be it cultural, economic or political. No one knows where we are, and which direction we will be heading in tomorrow.” Building on Chen’s wider interests in the cultural significance of nightlife and storytelling, this body of work is ultimately concerned with the individual’s place in a rapidly modernising country.