No School Today, 2005

Daily life routines are changing rapidly in Beijing, transformed not only by new working conditions but also new floor plans for private apartments. In No School Today, I wanted to try out what happens if the rules of movement are changed within the confined space of one of Beijing’s new, anonymous flats, so that it gets used in an unintended way.

A man and a child are living in one of the new apartment blocks. The flat is furnished “international style” with no specific taste, with the exception of an oil painting showing a traditional Chinese Gongshi (Scholar’s stone) on the wall next to the fridge, which connects the film to an older view on nature. The man and boy in my film use movements reminiscent of animals. They do it with ease, because we are, after all, animals. They start a chasing game in which the man has to catch the child. While the man has to move with his whole body close to the floor or the furniture, the child is allowed to make acrobatic jumps.

No School Today was an experiment based on improvisation. I was working with Cui Tao from the Beijing Modern Dance Company and 10 year-old Zheng Chenggong from Dongcheng Sports School, where he is a martial arts student.


No School Today
PAL Video, color, sound, 10 min, 2005
Dancer: Cui Tao
Child: Zheng Chenggong
Director: Antje Majewski
Production Manager: Jan Kern
Director’s assistant: Amy Wan Meng
Camera: Di Shen
Camera assistant: Zhang Liang
Sound: Huang Dong
Editing: Antje Majewski
Additional editing : Barbara Gies
Music: Katrin Vellrath
Painting: Antje Majewski


See also, on Gongshis:
The Meteorite. Conversation between Lu Ling, the Villagers of Yang Wu Sha and Antje Majewski. Yang Wu Xia, 2011
Exhibitions and screenings:
Unreal Asia (3), Uncanny Geographies, Zürcher Theater Spektakel, Zürich, CH, 2010
Oberhausener Kurzfilmtage, Unreal Asia, Oberhausen, D, 2009
Raum.Inhalt, Haus für die Kunst / Im Tal, Hasselbach, D, 2009
My Very Gestures, Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg, A, 2008
The 5th International Bangkok Experimental Film Festival (BEFF 5), Bangkok, Thailand und Kino Arsenal, Berlin, D, 2008
Totalstadt, ZKM, Karlsruhe, 2006
Convergence at E116°/ N40°Beijing 2005, Beijing, China, 2005


Hemma Schmutz, Caroline Schneider (Ed.), Antje Majewski: My Very Gestures, Salzburger Kunstverein und Sternberg Press, Salzburg, Berlin, New York, 2008