Solastalgia is a form of melancholy felt when someone returns to their hometown but realizes what they see betrays what they had memorized. As Australian philosopher Glenn Albrecht coined the term “solastalgia” in 2004 by combining the Latin words sōlācium (comfort) and the Greek root -algia (pain), the artist borrows this term to describe his paradox relation to this specific homesickness felt at home: while he suffers from emotional distress caused by the impossibility of verifying the past, he also gets addicted to the erotics of nostalgia and the feeling of being in exile.
This project started at a time when the urbanization at the artist’s hometown reached its climax. Finding the tremendous changes hard to bear, the artist traveled around the place with his camera in an almost paranoid manner, and tried to salvage as many memories as possible before the bulldozers cleared them away. Meanwhile, by photographing his relatives and close friends in a self-reflexive way, Shi explored his psychological response to the vagueness caused by the fractured memories. As the artist relies on the photography’s capability in transcending time and healing memories to reconcile with his lost sense of belonging, he is also trying to construct a new form of identity by tying himself closer to this medium.
Shi yangku | 史阳琨
Shi Yangkun was born in 1992, Henan province, China. After undergraduate study in journalism, he earned a master degree in Documentary Photography from University of the Arts London in 2017. From the onset of his career, Shi has worked as a multimedia reporter, he has covered multiple in-depth reports by including voices from those most intimately involved in some social events in China. Meanwhile, Shi pushes himself to develop research-based projects , and uses the language of photography to explore the complexity of Chinese society in a more subtle way.