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Rian Dundon

A view from inside the other new China

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This project re-examines China’s shifting cultural norms, economic transitions, and socio-political changes from within the context of its marginalized interior regions. Moving beyond the urban-centric/scenic/iconic structures, which dominate the current visual record of China, it considers the cultural dynamism of smaller provincial cities and rural prefectures far removed from China’s coastal metropole. These peripheral spaces, borderlands of China’s rural-to-urban transformation, are a crossroads for individuals finding their own place within a fluctuating and subjective cultural (and indeed physical) landscape. If economic growth has opened new avenues for expression in China so too have resultant ideological deviations affected the way people see themselves and their place in the world. This project looks to provide visual evidence of that reality by focusing on the differentiated actualities of life in an environment of sustained cultural flux.

In China’s interior provinces, where the full benefits of economic growth have yet to be realized, negotiating modernity requires hustling for a place within fresh modes of individualized experience and personal redefinition. This project traces its narrative across the diverse geographies of these liminal regions to witness how divergent notions of sex, desire, image, and identity coalesce to help shape a cultural reality not found in dominant media representations of China. Its images form a visual diary chronicling the interpersonal relationships of people living on the fringes of China’s social sphere and the vulnerability I see reflected in a generation of young people coming of age in a society set on fast-forward.

 

Bio

Rian Dundon (Portland, 1980) is an independent documentary photographer and writer from Monterey, California. His words and images have appeared in The Irish Times Magazine, New America Media, Time, Stern, Out, and Newsweek. Since 2005 Rian has produced several works of photography addressing social issues in China including urbanization, drug addiction, celebrity culture, homosexuality, migrant labor, and HIV/AIDS proliferation. His work has been exhibited at the Angkor Photo Festival, the FotoGrafia Festival, Caochangdi Photo Spring, The Camera Club of New York, and the New York Photo Festival. Rian is currently working on a series of photographs analyzing the impact of incarceration on prisoners in California. He speaks Mandarin Chinese and is a masters candidate in Social Documentation at University of California, Santa Cruz.

 

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Rian Dundon

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Giulio Di Sturco

War at the Edge of Heaven

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In August 2008, thousands of Muslims filled the streets of Srinagar, the capital of Indian-ruled Kashmir, shouting “azadi” (freedom) and raising the green flag of Islam. That was the start of a new revolution In Kashmir.
The Indian government’s insistence that peace is spreading in Kashmir contradicts a report by Human Rights Watch in 2006 that described a steady pattern of arbitrary arrest, extrajudicial execution and torture by Indian security forces.

In 2005, a survey by Doctors Without Borders, who provide basic health care and psychosocial counseling to the population, traumatized by over 20 years of violence, found that Muslim women in Kashmir, prey to the Indian troops and paramilitaries, suffered some of the most widespread sexual violence in the world.

Over the last two decades, most ordinary Kashmiri Muslims have wavered between active rebellion. They fear the possibility of Israeli-style settlements by Hindus-reports of a government move to allocate 92 acres of Kashmiri land to a Hindu religious group are what sparked the younger generation into the public disobedience expressed of late.

Hindu nationalists have already formed an economic blockade of the Kashmir Valley. In 1989 and ’90, when few Kashmiris had heard of Osama bin Laden, hundreds of thousands of Muslims regularly petitioned the United Nations office in Srinagar, hoping to raise the world’s sympathy for their cause. Indian troops responded by firing into many of these largely peaceful demonstrations, killing hundreds of people and provoking many young Kashmiris to take to arms and embrace radical Islam.
A new generation of politicized Kashmiris has now risen, and the world is again likely to ignore them – until some of them turn into terrorists.

 

Bio

Giulio di Sturco is a 30-year-old Italian photographer currently dividing his time between Milan and New Delhi.

He studied photography at the European Institute of Design and Visual Arts in Rome, and has covered North-American and the South-East Asia issues for many magazines such as L’espresso magazine, Vanity fair, Io Donna, The Daily Telegraph magazine, Time magazine, Marie Claire, Geo magazine, The Sunday Times Magazine, Newsweek.

Since 2008 he start a closer collaboration with some of the most important international organization such as Greenpeace, MSF, Unitaid, United Nations, WHO and Action Aid.

In April 2009 Giulio Joined the VII Mentor Program.

 

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Giulio Di Sturco

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