Pipes, Politics, and the South Pacific: Interview with Fang Di
By Clara Tang
For an artist, videomaker Fang Di has an unusual travel schedule. He divides his time between two very different places: half a year in his hometown, the industrial hub Shenzhen, then across the Philippine Sea to Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea (PNG), for the other half. After finishing his degrees at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts and the Mount Royal School of Art in Baltimore, Maryland, the artist started working for a state-owned company and eventually moved to PNG to oversee infrastructure projects in the region as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Fang leads a double life on the islands; among his colleagues, he hides his identity as an artist. In his video works, however, he offers a glimpse into his second life as an outsider in the South Pacific. For instance, he traces the curious success story of an Australian botanist-turned-PNG minister for sports, and immerses his audience in the soundscape of a bamboo pipe band from Bougainville.