Body as Archive: Body Workshop and Documentary Screening

Two women standing next to each other, their long hair tied in a knot connecting them together.

The Asian Film and Media Initiative Presents

Body as Archive:
Body Workshop and Documentary Screening

Featuring Wen Hui, Zou Xueping and Li Xinmin
(Living Dance Studio, Beijing)

November 10
721 Broadway, 6th Floor

Since the 1990s, Wen Hui, China’s leading independent dancer, choreographer, performance artist and filmmaker, has been exploring the body as archive and medium for the remembering and recovery of personal and collective history, especially women’s history. The day will kick off with a body workshop open to all audience members. It will be followed by screenings of documentaries by the three performers/filmmakers and a roundtable discussion.

Artists’ statement on the body workshop:
“An experience of embodied communication, of affective perception of happening.  You are already here when you enter. The body is the archive of individual memory, the encounter provides one with an opportunity to touch the past and understand the future. Through bodily experience and eyes’ perception we see space (which may be unlimited) and its orientations. Searching for multiple possibilities of bodily expression, participants together experiment in the process of mutual enlivening between numbness and curiosity.”

Co-sponsored by the Center for Religion and Media; Department of Performance Studies; Department of East Asian Studies; and China House at NYU.


Body Workshop
11:00 am: Performance Studies Studio, 721 Broadway, Room 612
Please wear clothing suitable for easy movement.

Screenings and Discussion
Michelson Theater, 721 Broadway, 6th Floor

1:30 pm: The Village of Fools (Zou Xueping, 2014, 80min)
3:30 pm: The Monument of Huamulin (Li Xinmin, 2015, 74min)
4:45 pm: Dance with Third Grandmother (Wen Hui, 2016, 15min), followed by roundtable discussion with Wen Hui, Zou Xueping, Li Xinmin and Prof. Angela Zito (Anthropology, NYU), moderated by Prof. Zhen Zhang (Cinema Studies, NYU).

Free and open to the public.


A woman in a red coat standing outside.

A still from Zou Xueping's The Village of Fools

《傻子的村子》Village of Fools

director: Zou Xueping
length: 74 minutes
made in: 2014
This is my fifth time coming back to my own village, where I was born and brought up. After I graduated from college, when I was staying in my village, I was always suspected and judged by the village people. Xizhu grandpa was called ‘fool’ by other villagers, and Zengxiang aunty was looked down by others. They come into my life, and I stayed with them. Their naïve and strange thought made think about my village in a new way.
In this quite ‘normal’ village, who are normal people? In those normal people’s eyes, am I another fool of this village?


2015年,台湾南方影展(获得“评审团”奖), 第三届中国女性影展冬季电影周
2015,South Taiwan Film Festival
2015, The 3th China Women's Film Festival 20
2016,Taiwan International Documentary Festival


A woman, the director Li Xinmin, in a red sweater holding a video camera.

The filmmaker, Li Xinmin.


The Monument of Huamulin is my fourth documentary film.

Since 2011, I have been back to my village, where I was born and raised, to visit the old people of my grandfather's generation, listening to their stories and recording their life.

They are above 60 years old, telling me their experiences in the great famine of 1959-1961. They couldn't forget how their parents, brothers, neighbors starved to death, including my great-grandfather.

Through the stories they told, I started to think the change from past to present, and the future.  Building a monument for the people dying in the great famine became my wish this year.






Li Xinmin was born in a mountainous place called Huamulin in Yunnan Province in 1988, LI’s formal education stopped at fifth grade due to poverty. At the age of 16, she began working as housekeeper in urban areas and took on responsibility as a provider for her rural family.

She grew interested in documentary filmmaking and dancing at the Caochangdi Workstation and soon became a resident artist. She has completed a few documentary films, including Back to Huamulin (2011), Huamulin 2012 (2012), Huamulin, Boy Xiaoqiang (2013), and The Monument of Huamulin (2015).

Li has also participated in a series of performances. including: Memory: Hunger (2010), Memory: Monument (2012), Listening to Third Grandmother’s Stories (2012), Memory: Trash (2013), Show Me Your Wounds (2014), RED (2015), The Dining Table (2016), Ordinary People (2017), etc.

In 2018, Li collaborated with her long-time artistic partner, ZOU Xueping, on an autobiographical documentary theatre piece entitled A Journey of Returning. The piece was premiered in Penghao Theatre (Beijing).




Still from Dance with Third Grandmother

Dance with Third Grandmother (2015) and Listening to Third Grandmother’s Stories (2011) are documentary-style interview films that recorded the stories of Wen Hui’s third grandmother. When Wen Hui visited her family’s hometown, a small village in Yunnan, on a project, she unexpectedly met her third grandmother. Spending time with her, Wen Hui listened to her stories of tragedy and hardships that she lived through the Great Famine and Cultural Revolution in China.