“   ” Quote Unquote attempts to reveal the absurdity of the juxtaposing absence and presence in certain social gestures by representing different levels of visibility, authority and extractivism. “  

In its first edition, organisers A Phantom City presented 16 artists of Chinese descent, whose works emerge as collective responses to recent social and domestic brutalities against women and sexual minorities in China(1). Their works revolve around exploring diverse cultural facets of identity politics practice, in the context of inquiring about the relationship between excessive self-censorship and patriarchal hegemony in the authoritative system of governance. Ideologies that celebrate compliance towards patriarchal society are well constructed and promoted by the nation through cultural products and mass media discourse.

This utterly impedes marginalised individuals both economically and politically in establishing and preserving sustained subjectivity, not to mention the psychological coping mechanisms required to perceive and detox the hidden pain generated by experiencing these public events.

In the London milieu which is comparatively tolerant towards transgenderism and postgenderism, this exhibition intends  to showcase the subtlety of the sense of misalignment and incongruity, exploring the difference between the productive rhythms of identity politics in China and others.

Host: Ugly Duck
Curator: Uchercie
Organiser: A Phantom City
Light Design: Matthew Beck 
Photography and article: Laura Macij

Utopia of the Problematic

120 x 160 CM

Carpet, Knife

Zeus Li

To spread out a soft carpet over the dense tips of knives is a metaphor for how society itself carries people, and people need to depend on society. But when people live in a society with too many problems and malice, we become so numb that we can't feel the harm. The truth is that our situation is dangerous. The power penetrates our life, the sharpness has been spread across.

Liquid, Confluent. , 2022

Woven images (1500*1100mm;594*420mm;420*297mm) and a video

Yige Tong   

In this project, Liquid, Confluent., I fragment and restructure the female intimate narrative between mother and daughter to confront the vulnerability of intimacy in the moment. All relations

Silent Declaration, 2022

90 x 58 x 90CM

Artificial stone, Stone, Steel, Glass, A4 paper, Acrylic sheet

Zhikang Cai 

Each stone is unique, but the functions and images of stones are interfered with and tampered with by humans. The image was disintegrated by human intervention in the material, and new forms of existence and functions were created. The image and function of material objects are a process of synchronisation.

Silent Declaration is an aggregation of stone elements. The work aims to create new connections between materials and elements. A passive relational structure is visualised by changing the form of perception of matter. In this work, the stone symbolises the passive state of an individual's destiny.

The fake stone is a replica of the real one, which is ten times lighter because of the material transformation. So that the fake stone can be installed on the wall and the weight can serve as a functional reference. The artist's use of materials and how they are installed express a constraint. At the same time, the reproduction of  relationships is a metaphor for the reality of the individual's suppressed fate.

Misery of an Abstract Dinner, 2022

Video Installation, 4:12’’

Raw2.2 @raw2.2 


Where can the conscious go when it’s unlimited by a form? Inspired by experiences of dissociation, the film sets in a state where one has no core identity to rely on. A fragmented young girl who sees the inner voices of her mind materialised in humanoids to attend a dinner together. Drawing a parallel between feelings of emptiness, the ill-minded body is compared to an empty shell, an artificial vessel of a CGI cyborg. When the characters are animated to speak and to interact with the artist, special effects in moving-images become what reality is capable of. Is reality merely the world we operate in, or where our imagination can go beyond? The project hopes to present an experiment on thoughts as realities, displaying the incoherence of the mind without logicising. 

Temple of Heaven, from series <Soliloquy>, 2022

Giclee Print, 35 x 28CM

William Zou @zouwilliam


Exploring family archives, self-portraits, and still life photography, William Zou's first photography project “soliloquy” interweaves and oscillates between personal past and present. By remapping queerness, diaspora, and family within new spatial-temporal relationships, the series aims to unveil identity as a fragmented experience that continually transforms. In particular, “soliloquy” sheds light on identities desired, disrupted and dismissed to consider the dilemmas of belonging and becoming.

Player, 2019  

Basketball hoop, stockting, basketballs

Chen Yuchen @worchen

From elementary school to high school, I always wonder why boys who can play sports are always popular. They're also always like a clique with strong social power which is even able to bully others. 

After growing up, I had a boyfriend who was the captain of the university basketball team. One day I asked him, do you really love basketball, or did you start loving it since you discovered your athletic talent makes you well-received? He thought for a while... and of course, he wouldn't admit it. But at the end of that night, he asked me: how about you? why do you be together with me? 

Untitled (Rituals), 2022

Performance Installation, 1 hour

Silver cutleries, polishing cloth, wooden table, fabric, 150 x 150 x 96CM

Kai Yan Cheung @jeskaiyan


In Untitled(rituals), the performer is seen polishing silver cutleries in a continuous loop inside a round table. The fruit of her labour is not measured by progress but through consistent restless maintenance. The performance amplifies the repetitiveness of domestic labouring, which is often regarded as a woman’s responsibility under patriarchal social structures. Her actions are entirely controlled by the silver cutleries; it is only when the tarnish is completely removed that she is allowed to stop. The reality of the never-ending silver oxidation makes the completeness of this task unattainable, dictating her freedom.

Star Centrioding, 2022 



Moyu yang @m0m0999999999

In the experimental film "Star Direction", I delved into the book "Luoshu River Map" and Sankai Juku's performance. The lens language realizes the purpose of abandoning anthropocentrism by switching the human perspective, the non-human perspective and the polar God (the third perspective), and tries to show the viewer to view the world through a dehumanized perspective. As Spinoza said, "The body must be defined in relation, which means that we can only know ourselves in relation." So in this film, three objects are explored through camera language and physical performance, and the transformation of the relationship between perspectives.

"The Tao gives birth to one; One begets two; Two people make three; All things are born. All things leave the darkness behind (from which they come) and move forward to embrace the light (from which they emerge), and they live in harmony with the vacant breath." This sentence of Laozi is chosen as the inspiration carrier of the project, and turtle claws are used as the main line of the work. In essence, the audience is caught up in a perverse dark game in which the rules are unclear. The tortoise is the core of the film. Its claws are deformed in shape and its long legs extend outward, metaphorically representing the identity of "tortoise" as a non-human creature, which is not only its own identity, but also the symbol of the integration of the whole non-human creature. It is more like a hybrid, which "generates" in the process of constant fusion and evolution. The goal of the film is to eradicate the quality of the "human figure", to blur individualism and ultimately to see all living things as a whole, and to speculate through fusion and change from three different creatures (perspectives) to the original creature's synthetic biological image.

Floating Metamorphic 003&004, 2022

Resin, metal, 50CM< x 60CM

Moyu yang @m0m0999999999

Installations Floating Metamorphic are based on abandoning anthropocentrism and trying to look at nature from a "dehumanizing" perspective. Caring for the non-human, changing the human perspective to the non-human perspective, giving up the human subject identity. By breaking the classic proposition that "man is the scale of everything" and taking Deleuze's animalization theory and Kafka's novel Metamorphosis as reference, this paper presents the process of "influence" through sculptural installation. The only way out of metaphorical animalization is the generation of reality.

-𝟯𝟮𝟭 °𝗙 | 𝒊𝒏 𝒔𝒂𝒓𝒄𝒐𝒑𝒉𝒂𝒈𝒐 𝒗𝒊𝒗𝒖𝒎 𝒂𝒆𝒓𝒊  

Celeste Viv Ly @virtio.djvu (v-l-y.io/)

Installation, sculpture, mixed media. £15,000 (wax sculpture ‘in sarcophago vivum aeri’ ) £5,000 (icicle sculptural piece ‘1̵̨̥͇͚̽͗́3̵̰̆̈3̵̥̝͈̤̙͕̈͋̀͛͝͝͝͝°̵̤̩̓̇ͅ ̷̲͛7̵͈̃9̵̗̳͔͕̮̻̟̓̈̀̕.̸̗̀̀̈́̐͆̈́͝5̷͇̰͇͉̗̝͑̿1̴̢̡̖͙̓͒͒́̒̎5̴͖͕̗͙̿̍̂̈̑́̈́̒̕͜ ̷̺̿̉͠N̶͉̗͚̍̀͗̀͝͝ ̴̧͉̝̽̊̓͐͠0̷̢̩̥̝̣͔̼̲͐̄͂͗͌1̸͕̈2̶̺̠͍͈͙͍̻͕̾̀̈͊̀°̵̘͗͋͂͛̅͒̌ͅ ̶̺͕̘̱̮̅̍͊̃͛̓9̸̨̩̱͕̥͚̲̩̀̌̄͜͝͝0̴͇͍̲̰͇̩̪̆̍̽̌͝.̷͖͛̓͆͠7̸̡̬͓͎͛́̈͗̓̐͆͗̚9̸͍̦̍7̷̮̯̱͈͖̱̰̓͛͒͛̿̈́͘͘ ̵̢̬̗̣̥̻̭̙͙͋̏͌Ë̴̠̣͚̥̙̣͙́̽͋̑̈̎̌͊ͅ’)  

-𝟯𝟮𝟭 °𝗙 | 𝑖𝑛 𝑠𝑎𝑟𝑐𝑜𝑝ℎ𝑎𝑔𝑜 𝑣𝑖𝑣𝑢𝑚 𝑎𝑒𝑟𝑖 is a body of work in an ongoing research project catalysed by the intermingling strands of a series of real-life events reflective of the surreal era of 2010-2200-∞. Some of these events may have trans-spatiotemporally informed each other in the parallel of their aftermaths caused by cryopreservation and/or refrigeration. The works in the installation feature the condensation from the immaterial to material, from events to material evidence and vestiges, from the real to the parafictionalised.