Xi Lin graduated from the Communication University of China with a degree in Theatre, Film and TV Directing and is currently studying photography at the Royal College of Art. Her works mainly explore the theme of female and marginalised groups such as sexual minorities.
"The Dream of Daxi" is composed of experimental moving image and a series of photographic installations, narrated in the form of a pseudo-documentary. The film focuses on Daxi, a transgender woman from northern China. It aims to construct an imaginary wedding by using real wedding video materials. The narrative is based on Daxi's memories of wearing a wedding dress and her fantasies of an ideal marriage. By using an absurd and ironic style, the work endeavours to blur the boundaries between reality and fiction, and critically reflects on the societal conditions and survival status of transgender individuals as marginalized groups in Chinese society.
I met Daxi during my university years when she became the subject of a documentary film by one of my friends. She was incredibly cheerful and open, and we could talk about anything. Despite a tumultuous life, she still treated others with kindness and sincerity, which surprised me at the time. Over the years, we have stayed in touch, caring about each other's lives. She longed to be a woman, yearned for love, and dreamed of becoming a bride. However, now she is forced to confront the harsh reality of shattered dreams and lives a secluded life behind closed doors.
She reminisces about the first time she wore a wedding dress while in a cohabiting relationship. At that time, she was living with a mute man. One day, the mute man brought home a wedding dress he had found, and they took bridal photos together. Unfortunately, those photos were lost during a subsequent move. The story of how she met the mute man is unexpected as well. One summer, while cooking in the courtyard, she was suddenly embraced from behind. It turned out to be a mute man. Through gestures, writing notes, and communication, she learned that the mute man worked at a nearby construction site and wanted to live with her. She agreed to let him stay. They lived together for about a year. However, for reasons unknown, the mute man never appeared again. "If I were a woman, I could search for him as his woman, but I am nameless and insignificant," she said. Whenever she talks about this past, her eyes reveal boundless melancholy. Since then, I have wanted to capture a set of wedding photos exclusively for her.