"Mapping the Unseen"
According to the 2018 report by the China Research Centre on Aging, Seniors who live in the Tibet Autonomous Region are the happiest in China. Media reporters that are sponsored by the Chinese government including CGTN, CCTV and XINHUA promoted Tibet as the “peacefully” liberate and will have a prosperous future. This drew my interest in developing a media project focusing on the comparison between the Chinese and Western search engines in reflecting what information regarding Tibet is shared with the public.
Since the protest in 2008, China has devoted millions in monitoring the Tibetans using high tech devices. Investments were made to heighten the surveillance of the Tibetans, their actions, and who they are in contact with. No one was allowed to leave, and no one could escape. As the tension between Tibet and China rose, Tibet was being ‘locked up’ by limiting individuals who can visit, and information (including images and media) that can be leaked inside and out of Tibet. With the construction of a physical wall as the border, and the heightened surveillance as the digital border, the number of refugees escaping Tibet has dropped by 97%. Nothing could escape the country, both physically and digitally.
This media study aims to gather and map out 2 stages of the lock down. Physical in terms of the Mountains, where people wanted to escape but are unable to do so due to the challenging landscape and physical border that are heavily monitored by soldiers. Digital in terms of censorship, including the block of media, where difficulty arise in advising the rest of the world of what exactly is happening within the borders. By mapping out and reconstructing the physical and digital border of Tibet using modern digital media, the audience can put into perspective the missing pieces blocked off by the Chinese Communist Government.
My media research towards Tibet has been challenging since there is an enclosure of information and communication. Yet, by gathering limited existing footages from the human rights group, this unfolds information that have huge contrasts with what government-sponsored propaganda presents: blurry compared to well-filmed.
By gathering existing footage, breaking these down into still frames and using ‘Pointcloud’ with sets of data points in space, poetically forming a 3D environment. We can visualize the border and construct the perimeter metaphorically. It is possible to create and develop a visual representation of the missing piece of what we know about Tibet. The floating fragmented terrains are filmed by tourists and government drones. Tibet is famous for its geography, stunning and tallest mountains in the world. However, these have also become an obstruction for Tibetan to escape. The lockdown has obstructed Tibetian’s vision, emotion and hope. This study can be seen as a trace to the unseen.