China and Inner Asia
11,565 Kilometers Project
Directed by Beichen Zhang. 2019. China / United States. 31 minutes.
Country/region featured: China, United States
In-person Q&A with Beichen Zhang.
11,565 Kilometers tracks the path of an artifact from the Shandong province to the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. In June 2018, the artist began conducting research on a Chinese artifact at UPenn’s museum, A Coffin Fragment (object#: 40-35-4), located in their Asian Art pavilion. During his investigations, Zhang shot one poetic documentary. This film highlights issues related to the circulation of artifacts, the complexity of colonial histories, and the material reality of historical documents. It portrays the long migration of this Chinese coffin, its historical colonial background, and the power dynamics within the institutional museum collection.
Distributed by the filmmaker