Reading Jiaoxing Village I presents my experience of living in the UK during the global pandemic as a Chinese person, where I began to reflect on my own position in this world. It also reflects the crisis of self-identity of the young generation in the context of rapid urbanization in current China. This film leads a journey of self-examination and self-reflection by looking at the image of my hometown – Jiaoxing Village. Hometown is a mirror; when people look at it, it reflects themselves. I arrived at a deeper understanding of myself in respect to the world I inhabit when I read and analyzed the intellectual and physical practice in Jiaoxing village. This film is the start of further self-searching and self-recovery. I will continue reading my village, myself and our relationship; so-called—Reading Jiaoxing Village: Chapter One.
Gao Ang, born in 1991, is a PhD candidate in documentary filmmaking at Newcastle University in the UK. Her practice-led research interrogates contemporary forms of observational filmmaking as an embodied, self-reflexive, critical and creative practice through her own filmmaking practice and other filmmakers in the Folk Memory Project of Caochangdi Workstation in Beijing, China. This research challenges the naïve and outdated approaches of observational documentary, and explores more experimental forms of observational filmmaking rooted in embodied, creative practice as a form of ‘looking’, ‘being’ and ‘presence’. Reading Jiaoxing Village: Chapter one is her first documentary film, filming in her home village.