Courtesy of the exhibitor:
About the work: Janet Biggs’ video, Point of No
Return focuses on individuals in the
face of cultural loss or change. To
many, cultural extinction is a part of
human evolution. Whether through
assimilation, globalization, technological advancement, or battle, cultures expand
Filmed in the Taklamakan desert and the livestock market of Kashgar, Biggs
documents the rigors of survival for man and beast. Point of No Return examines
the loss of a sense of self and way of life in one of the world’s most isolating and
harsh location, known as the “Desert of Death”.
Xinjiang, the western extreme of China, is also referred to as the Uyghur
Autonomous Region. Uyghurs, originally a Turkic tribe of nomadic herders,
became masters of the region in the tenth century, controlling the trade along the
northern arm of the Silk Road.
In present day Xinjiang, the Chinese government fears unrest and a possible
Muslim stronghold as Uyghur’s seek autonomy. The central government has
imposed strict regulation on the Uyghurs, including destroying much of their
traditional homes and ways of life.
Biggs traveled into the Taklamakan desert with eight camels and their Uyghur
handlers. She filmed the caravan as it journeyed past ancient sites, some in
ruins, others buried under the desert. Set against backgrounds of fevered market
activity and never-ending oceans of dunes, Point of No Return reveals the grit, endurance, and desire for a way of life at risk of vanishing into the sands by
choices self-made or externally imposed.