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Zhang Hanwen (Artist/Filmmaker; Berlin): Defection, Exile, and Utopia: Pan-Asianist Bodies and Legacies

05. Jul., 11:30 - 12:30

Zhang Hanwen (Artist/Filmmaker; Berlin)
Defection, Exile, and Utopia: Pan-Asianist Bodies and Legacies

Emmy-Noether Saal, Wilhelmsplatz
5. July (Friday), 11:30-12:30

The artist and filmmaker Zhang Hanwen will present his recent work, “Hostile Landscapes”, a two-channel installation film initiated in 2022, and related research. The project revolves around the true story of Jhu Hyeun-ken (朱贤健/주현건), a North Korean defector imprisoned in the Jilin Prison in Northeast China for illegal border-crossing since 2013. Jhu managed to escape from the prison on October 18th, 2021, with bare hands. After eluding local police and authorities for 40 days, Jhu was ultimately shot in the leg and apprehended near the Fengman Dam and Reservoir, a historically significant location with deep Japanese colonial ties. The presentation will explore notions related to Chinese/Asian identities, and their connections to nationalism and colonialism, within the framework of contemporary and modern East Asian history, navigating the geopolitical shifts of the past and the present.

Zhang Hanwen is an artist and filmmaker originally from Changchun, China, who has been wandering nomadically across Germany lately. Drawing from artistic research and field studies, his work examines specific landscapes, infrastructures, and mundane activities through images and texts, weaving them within a network of local, personal, transnational, historical, and ideological contexts. His recent research revolves around marginalized individuals’ exile, troublesome colonial heritage, and secret society activities against the backdrop of East Asian modern/contemporary history. Zhang holds an MFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York, and has participated in various artist-in-residencies and fellowship programs including the German Chancellor Fellowship (Bonn, 2025), the Braunschweig Projects (Braunschweig, 2023), the Oberhausen Seminar (Oberhausen, 2023), the Fosun Foundation Art Residency (Shanghai, 2021), the BRIClab Video Art Residency (New York, 2020), etc. His work has been exhibited and screened at venues such as the Power Station of Art in Shanghai, the OCAT Institute in Beijing, BY ART MATTERS in Hangzhou, the CACHE Space in Beijing, as well as at film festivals including the Beijing International Short Film Festival and BBC LongShots. In 2020, Zhang’s film “The First Line of China” was awarded the SAH Award for Film and Video.

Prof. Dominic Sachsenmaier, University of Göttingen


05. Jul.
11:30 - 12:30


Prof. Dominic Sachsenmaier, University of Göttingen


Emmy-Noether-Saal, Tagungs-und Veranstaltungshaus Alte Mensa, Wilhelmsplatz