Cheung’s geopolitical dystopia is meant to denounce the neoliberal West and foreshadow its demise. He pictures a skewed political system that has conquered and ingrained itself so fully into life that it forms the very bedrock for cities, deserts, mountains, and civilizations. Perversely haunting the scenes are loaded motifs like American cowboys and ghosts appropriated from Scooby-Doo cartoons— symbols meant to invoke paranoia and politics.
What “stares back” in Cheung’s works, more than anything, is a reflection of our collective anxieties. While these scenes are grounded in salient political issues, it is Cheung’s ability to realize masterful, lucid visions of a sci-fi dystopia that resonate most with the viewer.