Walking China: Stories yet to be told is a multimedia exhibition and collaboration with the Out of Eden Walk, a global storytelling project retracing ancient human migration currently underway in China. Co-curated by Pulitzer-Prize winning writer, National Geographic Explorer, and Documentary Center, Shanghai Media Group (SMG) foreign expert Paul Salopek and film and literature scholar June Ke, Walking China: Stories yet to be told highlights the diversity of local cultures by presenting stories that roam widely across disciplines, knowledge systems, and ways of knowing, reflecting on how walking changes perceptions of time and being and how we might approach encounters with unfamiliar cultures and indigenous knowledges as starting points for dialogue. Featured artists include Salopek’s walking partners, folk artists encountered along the way, and artists who meditate on walking; they represent a diversity of mediums and perspectives, and explore local and regional cultures from various points along the Out of Eden Walk route in China.
Walking China uncovers local histories and stories that have been obscured by dominant discourses. The stories collected here are curated with an eye for destabilizing sedentary narratives, highlighting how indigenous cosmologies rethink nature/culture binaries and how categories of history and identity are constantly in flux.
A mode of movement slower than the pace set by modernity, walking offers a process-oriented approach that forges unexpected connections and recovers what has been repressed or forgotten. A walk is not only a walk: It can also be a ramble through time, a quest for hidden truths, and an embodied approach to listening and storytelling. In this exhibition, walking becomes a method of uncovering ecological and technological layers, a way of traversing invisible borders, and a way of registering China’s spiritual journeys and history’s lingering footfalls. Visitors are invited to take a walk across China through footpaths and byways, to listen to disabled and minority stories, stories of grasslands and mountains, stories informed by the vicissitudes of history. Their narratives intertwine, fold into, ask questions of one another and of each of us: What are our responsibilities to the past, the future, and the world outside of our everyday surroundings? What kind of stories have been neglected or repressed? What stories have yet to be told?
Walking China will also serve as a prototype for future exhibitions built around the Out of Eden Walk in the countries along the route to the walk’s finish line in Tierra del Fuego, South America. This exhibition supports Out of Eden Walk’s mission to collaborate with and elevate new creative talent who have walked along the trail, thus inspiring connectivity and accountability in our shared planet.
Walking China: Stories yet to be told is accompanied by related events, including:
- Saturday, 20 May, 14:00-18:00
- Performances & curator's tour - starting at 15:00
A public reception with Walking China artists, contributors, and collaborators to celebrate the exhibition’s opening with a poetry reading by Li Wan, musical performance by Li Genfan and Zhang Taiying, and curator-led tour by June Ke and Paul Salopek.
DECADE: Out of Eden Walk’s Slow Storytelling Journey
- Sunday, 21 May, 9:00-13:00
- In English with Chinese interpretation
Join the Out of Eden Walk as we assemble longtime friends from all over the world to celebrate ten years of slow storytelling. Each session will share from the perspective of journalists, educators, and photographers who have collaborated with the Out of Eden Walk, from Ethiopia to China.
The Forever Walk China screening & discussion
Courtesy of the Documentary Center, Shanghai Media Group (SMG)
- Sunday, 2 July, 14:00-16:30
- In Chinese only
A screening of select episodes of The Forever Walk China, followed by discussion between anthropologist Zhang Liangliang and crew members of the Documentary Center’s documentary series The Forever Walk China, moderated by co-curator June Ke.
Silk Lineage Inheritance, the Unity of Heaven and Humanity
Workshop on Sericulture by Eco-Humanist Photographer
- Saturday, 29 July, 14:00-16:00
- In Chinese only
Photography workshop with eco-humanist photographer Sun Xiaodong on how to use slow storytelling to capture the beauty of sericulture.
- Saturday, 10 June, 14:00-15:00
- Saturday, 8 July, 14:00-15:00
- Saturday, 5 Aug, 14:00-15:00
- In Chinese/English
Co-curator June Ke leads personalized tours of Walking China: Stories yet to be told and facilitates discussions after the tour.
This exhibition and all related public programs, including the opening reception, are free and open to the public.
Walking China: Stories yet to be told is organized in partnership with Out of Eden Walk and NYU Shanghai Dean of Arts & Sciences. Additional support is provided by NYU Shanghai University Communications and NYU Shanghai Academic Affairs Office for Community Engaged Learning.
Walking China: Stories yet to be told is co-curated by June Ke and Paul Salopek and organized with Michelle Yeonho Hyun, ZHU Sicong, and BAO Yang, with additional support by CAO Yier, CHEN Jialing, CHEN Yijia, JING Xinyu, KUANG Yi, WANG Muqing, YANG Xian, and ZHANG Yuyang.
Exhibition Design by Shanghai YUU Design & Construction Co. Ltd.
Graphic Design by The Exercises
The Out of Eden Walk in China is hosted by Documentary Center, Shanghai Media Group (SMG).