Strangers  (3'58'' excerpt)

2015 / video / 4mins 18secs

In her 4-channel video installation Strangers (2015), Cao Fei uses an online dating platform as a space for small, performative interventions for ‘random strangers’ to watch: a random shadow play in front of a city skyline; a Buddha figure smiling into the camera; a person asleep in bed. Users log in from around the world—usually expecting to find sexual attraction, distraction from their everyday routine, or simply 
driven by curiosity. While individuals seem to become more and more detached from their immediate fellow citizens and surroundings, dating platforms are becoming increasingly popular. Their approach toward human interaction in virtual reality is a strongly consumerist one: the passive voyeur zaps from one stranger to another, like zapping TV channels. Cao Fei’s subtle interventions deliberately do not meet users’ common expectations and the bored gaze of the stranger turns to the next channel, but they nevertheless have the power to surprise, to entertain, and to question.