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The Periphery of the Base

Film still from Zhou Tao’s film “The Periphery of the Base”. Four people climb what seems to be a clay hill.
Zhou Tao, THE PERIPHERY OF THE BASE (Still) © Zhou Tao
  • Director

    Zhou Tao

  • People’s Republic of China / 2024
    53 min. / Original version with English subtitles

  • Original language


In the scorching heat of the desert, where the ground is blistering and the air thick with pervasive sand, an infrastructure project unfolds in the unforgiving natural environment. The scale of this endeavor is so immense that the individuals navigating through it appear minuscule in comparison. Within the haze of sand and dust, those who have relocated for the construction of the infrastructure, returning from a day’s toil, find their way back to the tented area hastily assembled.
As the roaming lens of the camera moves through the living area and returns to the expansive terrain where this massive engineering project is unfolding, the sun begins to set. Trucks and figures gradually disappear into the swirling winds and sand. At this moment, the camera’s eye, constantly worn down by the persistent dust, suddenly loses its usual ability to discern light and shadow. Nevertheless, it persists in its attempt to capture, to the point where it seizes the abstract interplay of light and shadow in this world. The light itself becomes akin to etched marks on the virtual canvas of digital imagery, leaving behind traces and lingering impressions.

Zhou Tao, born in Hunan, Zhou Tao holds a B.A. in oil painting and an M.A. in mixed-media studies from the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts. He scavenges for visual and narrative materials in the places and communities he encounters, to then implement this material in his film works. He has participated in La Biennale di Venezia, Sharjah Biennial, Shanghai Biennale, Auckland Triennial, Taipei Biennial, and many more. He has received various awards, including from the Locarno International Film Festival, Documenta Madrid, International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, and the Han Nefkens Foundation.

Production Zhang Wei, Zhou Tao. Production companies Topography Practice (Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China), Vitamin Creative Space (Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China), Artoon (Shanghai) Art Development Co., LTD. (Shanghai, People’s Republic of China). Director Zhou Tao. Cinematography Zhou Tao. Editing Zhou Tao. Sound design Zhou Tao. Sound Ding Dawei. Executive producer Ding Dawei. Co-producer Liu Wei.

World sales Vitamin Creative Space

Films: 2011: South Stone (24 min.). 2012: Collector (20 min.). 2013: After Reality (14 min.). 2015: Blue and Red (25 min.). 2017: The Worldly Cave (48 min.). 2019: Osmosis (103 min.). 2024: The Periphery of the Base.

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur