‘We found a boat-lifting machine and asked the actors to jump aboard, then set the mechanism in motion as we started to shoot’
This shot was taken in 2006 in Shandong province, near the port city of Weihai – I was there to film the fourth instalment of a five-hour video work, Seven Intellectuals in a Bamboo Forest.
The film is based on the third-century fable of the seven sages: seven young people who sought to escape corrupt court politics and together left the city in search of their future. The theme of the instalment was “a small island on the sea of belief”. As the seven city dwellers try out life as fishermen, the narrative explores the tension between their dual identities.