XU BING, stills from Dragonfly Eyes, 2017, video with color and sound: 81 min. Courtesy the artist.

Man, Machine or Dragonfly?

The buzz surrounding Xu Bing’s new film Dragonfly Eyes (2017) is that it was created from cutting and compiling more than 10,000 hours of video surveillance footage and is possibly the first such “film” to combine the technologies of over 245 million global surveillance cameras and cloud computing. But the release of the 81-minute movie also revealed an interesting decision by Xu—one of China’s most esteemed contemporary artists—to introduce this work not through museums, biennials or galleries, but rather via the ostensibly more mass-market medium of cinema. 

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