Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.

Scientific Classification

Oct 10, 2019 - Zhankun Dai

These are from my MA show in Chelsea College of Arts.


This project originated from a video on Youtube that sharing their DNA test results. They held the DNA report on their hands as if they were reading their own destiny. I was very curious about how powerful the DNA test is, but after a period of research, I found that I have gradually lost interest in the DNA test itself, and instead started to study taxonomy, because I think the purpose of the DNA test is actually to help the society to classify people most efficiently, both from a health perspective and from a blood perspective.


Marcel Mauss and Émile Durkheim pointed out in the < Primitive Classification> that the ability to classify is not intrinsic to human beings, but is accompanied by changes in society. In the classification of primitive society, the way in which things are classified depends on emotions. In contemporary society, technology and other means are used to make the categorization look more rational. Therefore, the process of categorization change is also the evolution process of human society. But who has the power to set the standard for this categorization?


In this work, I tried to simulate the categorization process of human beings in the current society through two machines. As time goes by, the balls in the machine become more and more chaotic. And you will never know what is the standard of the categorization, and you are not sure which category you will eventually be assigned to. This process will continue and will not stop. If people default or obey this categorization system, they will be gaze and control; and if they escape or resist the system, they will have nowhere to hide, just like the balls fallen on the ground.