Siying Zhou (AUS)

Born in China, Siying Zhou is an visual artist who is currently living and working in Narrm/Melbourne, Australia. Her art practice is primarily research-based and project-driven. Through producing predominantly installation works, Zhou uses spatial structure and materiality of various media, such as, video, photography, performance, drawings and text, to provoke questions, construct propositions and draw discussions towards cultural difference, selfhood, social conventions and norms. In the contextualised spaces of Zhou’s works, new meanings and aesthetics potentially would be established and transmitted. 

Zhou occasionally works as an independent curator and produces group exhibitions and public projects. Her curatorial projects are directly related to the research topics and questions raised in her art practise. In her curated exhibitions, Zhou explores the relevance between art and other spaces outside institutional system. The exhibitions and projects curated by Zhou include: Poked by bones in the cupboard (2018), a group exhibition of family videos made by artists; Art on Wheels (2012), a public art project in Darwin; Art of the Nomad (2012), a group exhibition in Darwin and Territory Time (2010), a touring exhibition initiated from the Next Wave Festival 2010. 

During the period of PICTURE BERLIN 2016 Summer Session, Zhou continued her current research project in which she explored the complexity of cultural identification and the idea of cultural uncertainty in today’s societies that are influenced and formed by development of globalisation. By primarily using photography, video and participative events, Zhou explored her multiple cultural identities: A china-born Australian who was currently visiting Berlin as a tourist, in Berlin and requested the meaning of being German.  Zhou raised a question: what was required for a foreigner to be considered as a German in Germany?Zhou implemented a project based on two key questions: “How many German dishes ought I to cook to become a German?” and “How many German jokes ought I to know to be more German?”. In the project, guided by these two questions, Zhou requested a German dish from German participants. The participants decided the amount of detail about the dish that they could tell. Then, the participants were invited respectively to a dinner in which the described German dish was cooked and served. At the dinner, the participants were also requested to tell me a German joke. In the end Zhou had totally cooked six dishes, dined with four Germans and collected four German jokes.

Pictured: Installation shot from "We Watch Them to be Ready for Their Arrival"(2019)