Qiran Xu

About 'I am here,'


I started with only photographing people sleeping, after seeing portraits of dead people from about a hundred years ago. I first thought they were just in sleep till I found the tiny note of the date of death written underneath. I was certainly fascinated. First, I invited strangers to sleep in a room I prepared for them. I wouldn’t tell them how long I will go back to the room, but I will give them an averagely of 20-30mins to be alone for them to fall asleep. There were failed ones for sure. During one of the shootings, after I had enough shots of the person sleeping in that bed. I hesitated before I almost woke him up. I felt so much at ease.

In a group, due to many times of transferring schools, I used to tune myself down. The uncomfortableness always put me at stake by being in a group. When I am together with another individual in a private space, it also triggers me. I will act more talkative by instinct for waving off the sense of nervousness. It is not the easiest for my conscience to ‘ignore’ the other person in the same room. In contradiction, I love people. I enjoy being around people; I enjoy talking to people; I am always interested in knowing people; I would like to be part of their life stories. I love people, while I am scared of them.

’And now! I am here. This person is also here. But I feel so fine!’

I was again intrigued by people in sleep. I can feel some sort of power growing inside of me. Power of being at ease and being myself while others are presenting. So I decided not to wake him up.
I started taking videos and photos with myself in the room, next to the sleeping person. I may observe the person; I may sit next to the bedside;  I may check up corners of the room; I may sit on the chair; I may lay down on the floor…… So I began with visiting their bedrooms to sleep with them while they were sleeping.

In this project, I extracted part of my true self and blew it up, to make ‘her’ into my puppet to tell a story or an episode of emotion. I became a medium to transmit messages. The desperation within the crushing of consciousness and unconsciousness, desire and fear, presence and absence of a ‘human being’, is what I want to talk about.

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