The “World of Xijing” is not open to all visitors. Walking into the exhibition space, women with their hair neatly tied back will literally stop your way in. This is the border into Xijing, a fictional city of the west. Although legal documents are not needed, a spontaneous dance or an audible laugh will serve as your passport into the city. It’s the moment in which the idea of a borderless world is realized, but in the setting of an art museum.
Visualizing the settings of an ideal world, we often conjure up a place or time that doesn’t exist in reality. Children will draw pink unicorns and as for adults, the answer for paradise may be a place where work and love is not a slippery road to failure. Xijing may not cater to your idea of utopia, but the city is fun, realistic, and natural. In the video work “I Love Xijing,” The Xijing Men teach classes on language, philosophy, history to a group of students. During “philosophy class,” the children lay down on mattresses sprawled across the floor for a decent nap. Similarly in gym class, The Xijing Men use their hands to massage, knead, and elbow a massage bed (with no human body lying on it), and the students follow through the act outside, “massaging” the trunk of a tree, or even a pile of dry grass found in a yard. All of these classes don’t even come close to what we are used to, but once you get accustomed to the education system of Xijing, you may feel the urge to settle down and start a new life here. After all, it is the very first city managed by three presidents.
Watch The Xijing Men puck around with a spoon at the “Xijing Winter Olympics” on screen, as you’ll probably find someone laughing next to you to say, “What on earth are these grown-up men doing?” If you want to find out what these men exactly do, make your across the border on the days when they perform live at the museum.