Centre for Contemporary Photography Award for outstanding folio.

Reviewed in MASS MEMO | Photography, RMIT by Leah Shyra (memoreview.net)

Zhuoyu (Bǫbbi) Gan, Boundaries Theatre, 2023. Photographic prints. RMIT University School of Art Graduate Exhibition 2023, Melbourne. Photo: Zhuoyu (Bǫbbi) Gan.

“[…] Zhuoyu (Bǫbbi) Gan brings me out onto the balcony of an apartment, her photographic installation Boundaries Theatre (2023) exploring a desire to connect with others through the complexity of stranger relationships, boundaries, and ethics. A large, low-saturated print shows a modern high-rise apartment facade, its banality disrupted by small slices of life: a cat tree, a bicycle, a populated clothes-rack. Pinned on top are images of Gan carrying out relatable aspects of her own daily routine. Three images take sculptural form as paper planes: symbols of anonymity, communication and distance. Gan’s project is tender and nuanced. It is a conversation between physical closeness and emotional distance, private and public, observer and observed.”

In Australia, there are no legal restrictions against photographing someone without their consent. Boundaries Theatre dives into the nuances of privacy, the unseen lines drawn between individuals, and the unspoken ethical nuances.
I live in an apartment, and my balcony is about twenty metres from the opposite building. I recall being captivated by an argument between my neighbour and residents from that building. We’re close, yet distant, familiar strangers connected and separated by the spaces we inhabit. Our lives, though private, are often on display.

In such proximity, the details of our lives are inadvertently revealed. It’s hard not to notice small things like pets, routines, or the person who enjoys cooking shirtless. These observations led me to question – where do we draw the line between casual observation and intrusion?

The gaze isn’t one-sided. I’m as much an observer as I am observed. There have been many instances where my boyfriend and I have dashed from the shower to the bedroom, or have noticed someone looking as we casually lounged on my sofa – are these private moments now imprinted in the memories of those neighbours opposite me?

In a world where buildings stand so close and walls are seemingly transparent, every sliver of light seeping through the curtains reminds us of our visible existence. This project reflects on these intertwined lives, an exploration of the silent dialogue between privacy and exposure.

instagram: @littleyu.g


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Zhuoyu Gan