CHONGQING SOUVENIR – a little tale of Revolution 1967-1968
by Lukas Birk
20x15cm / 54 Pages
English & Chinese Introduction
Hard cover with padding / Embossed
Edition of 300 in blue and pink, signed and numbered on demand
The book presents a record of unseen images from shaming ceremonies held during the Cultural Revolution in Chongqing, China. The prosecuted people depicted in the book were dissidents, intellectuals and opponents of the Communist Party who were publicly punished during the violent period of the late 1960s.
Records like these are very rare and have not yet found their way into public discussions in China or internationally. As only official photographers were allowed to document these prosecutions, it is almost impossible to find such images in private albums. This led to the idea to collage the images with Chinese photo albums that were produced in the same period and were widely used by members of the public to keep their memories alive. These kind of albums are often beautifully illustrated with ideas of prosperity and the development of society.
The images were given to me by an anonymous person in Chongqing, in 2015. We decided to publish the book with a very basic introduction to the time period in English and Chinese, hoping to provide space for interpreting the images further.
Clearly, the Cultural Revolution is not the only violent period that is not found in private photo albums or is still actively suppressed from public discussions by governing powers. Post-World War I & II colonial atrocities, for example, are still hardly to be found in Western history books and very rarely talked about in public.
This book is not about facts but rather offers an idea on how to bring impersonal images of violence into a personal space of discussion