A performance by Wang Anbang (Drama, Nanjing University), Florian Geisseler (Film, Zurich University of the Arts), Mengying Li (Intermedia Art, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou), Joel Schoch (Composition for Film and Theatre, Zurich University of the Arts)


Wang Anbang in the MASKS performance

We have to admit that in nowaday’s society everyone has their own mask. And since the society keeps influencing our minds every single day, this mask somehow is even more stable than our skin. It’s nearly impossible to be truly honest to your own interior, but at least should we give a try?


Fashion, beauty, food or cellphone contracts. Within all these layers hides the idea of identity which can be freely chosen and constructed. The illusion of the free will is what keeps consumerism alive. Instead of becoming free and self-determined, we, as individuals, merge into an uniformed mass-society. Our belief in this myth is what covers and masks everything what could have possibly made us become authentic human beings. A performative installation facing the ambivalence between the urge to become individuals and our wish to fit into society.


At the beginning, it was towards the end of October, we didn’t find much inspiration after we’d traveled back to Hong Kong from HangZhou. It was hard for us to come up with a particular and valuable idea, but there was something surrounding us since we came back to Hong Kong, it was some abstract impression we had about mainland China. We did feel a kind of struggle happening between society and every single person. It’s like a fight for their own individuality, we are fighting every day and losing all the time. Then one day, we happened to find an advertisement in a subway station and it attracted us. It was an advertisement of beauty masks, and, all of a sudden, we found ourselves shocked by the picture. A women’s face under a beauty mask – it was kind of scary because all we saw was the mask, we couldn’t see the face of that women. Then we decided the main element of our project, the center of our attention, would be the mask.

For the form of our project, we discussed a lot, and finally decided on something between installation and performance. For finding a way to express our idea, we did some individual brainstorms to build up the construction of our work.

The final version turned out quite different from what we’d had in mind in the beginning. We’d planned on designing four individual stations in the space at the same time. But then we realised that it made our idea more obscure. After we’d gotten many really useful suggestions from the TC mentors, we focused more on our original idea concerning the mask. We did some tryouts and made videos, and then considered deeply and in long discussions whether and what we should change. We rehearsed and rehearsed, and each time we did a rehearsal we made some changes in our performance.

Finally we’d advanced our project into a performative piece and version that we all were quite satisfied with. Many thanks especially to Dimitri de Perrot for all his help – he gave us many great suggestions, which made our project more complete.

To read more about this group’s work process, please click here to read their portrait for “A day with…”.

Result/State of play