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Shen Xin: Navigating Belief Systems
Shen Xin: Navigating Belief Systems

They [the actors] added emotions to the breaks... and I'm very thankful for that because it's about the autonomy that you give your actors, and they give back and they contribute to the context of your work.

Shen Xin

Shen Xin’s work Provocation of the Nightingale (2017) consists of four videos playing on four screens in a cube-like formation. On one screen, a Buddhist and a manager of a genetic testing company discuss life, science, and faith on a stage. On another, motion-capture technology records the facial expressions of people who share the results of their genetic tests in voiceover.

On one of the inward-facing screens, a male dancer and a female dancer face each other. They are gradually soaked with sweat as background music highlights their confrontation. The same music plays in the video opposite, in which a monitor on a stage plays a collection of video clips about religion. The apparently unrelated content of the four videos is connected through a shared scenography and references to texts, images, and music. Shen Xin creates a multilayered narrative structure, unveiling the tensions and conflicts between genes, cultures, faiths, and sciences that define a crisis of identity.

This video was originally published on M+ Stories.

Video Credits

Produced by



Adam Studios

Curatorial Research

Pi Li, Isabella Tam, Kary Woo

M+ Video Production

Chris Sullivan, Jaye Yau, Angel Ng

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