DREAMS THAT SWALLOW PEOPLE III presents China’s hot water culture to a perhaps unfamiliar audience. Although the history of Chinese drinking hot water is only seventy years old, it has had a profound impact on every Chinese person. Tracing the historical origin to the present, and then projecting to the future, there is still uncertainty about this use of hot water.

Miniature figures play a vital role in this project. They are defined as beings in a parallel space, with the ability to dream, while they are in an environment surrounded by hot water. Influenced by the hot water culture, their lives have parallels with human daily life but are also slightly different. Through the differences in the proportions of miniature figures and scenes, a visual illusion is formed, allowing the viewers to focus more on the meaning conveyed by the artwork itself. The dream scenes of figures were expressed through a combination of realism and surrealism.

The work consists of three interactive installations, which represent the three parts of the dream—past, present and future. Viewers can freely choose the images they are interested in and insert them into the light box, and can then pick up the light box to look through the peephole. Observing images through the peephole can enhance the audience’s sense of peeping into the dreams of the figures. At the same time, the audience can also use the remote control to control the LED light intensity in the light box to adjust the brightness most suitable for their observation. If the audience is interested in the certain photos, they can get more info by scanning the QR codes that accompany the works.


The following video depicts an installation version of the work combining all of the scenes.


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Xueying Fu