Terry Flaxton’s Portraits of the Arrow Tower: Beijing is a 26-minute video work which forms part of a series of portraits taken around the world. It features a range of video portraits of Beijing residents. The subjects of Flaxton’s portraits, wearing their work uniforms or everyday wear and accompanied by objects significant to their identity, stand not-quite-motionless as a water fountain churns behind them.
The piece documents Flaxton’s exploration of the relationship between Chinese and Western culture, and shows a Western interpretation of China. “Stratified Beijing Society mimics the West in many ways - but the what is specific to Chinese Society is undeniable - even the generals and the militia wear ballroom dancing or rodeo style line dancing clothes but their Chinese-ness shines out.”