A Jury Trial is a film archive of the eponymous art project, documenting a civic experiment during a time of Covid-related social upheavals.
Back in 2018, artist Liu Weiwei and his brother Liu Chao initiated another project titled ‘Australia,’ which was exhibited at esea contemporary as part of the exhibition ‘Practise Till We Meet.’ In ‘Australia,’ Liu Chao put his decision about emigration to a public vote. However, the result of the vote was suspended due to procedural disputes. In late 2022, with an open call, Liu Weiwei recruited twelve ordinary Shanghai citizens who, with reference to Natural Law, held an experimental jury panel to rule on the validity of the voting result from four years ago.
A Jury Trial presents various strands of this socially engaged art project, from the recruitment interviews and a mock trial to the heated debates on the final jury panel. All of these took place six months after the end of the massive lockdown in Shanghai and only a few days after the nationwide protests triggered by a tragic residential high-rise fire in Urumqi.
The film offers glimpses into individuals’ life conditions, expressions, and their attempt at a democratic decision-making process, framed against a social backdrop under the double pressure of the pandemic and governmental control.
Commissioned by esea contemporary and Social Practice Lab (SPL), with support from The British Council.
Event/ This screening will be introduced by Dot Zhihan Jia, Curator, esea contemporary.