Chenyuan Liang

What would be on your dirty playlist?
Alone by Sopor Aeternus.

What are you wear­ing?
An or­di­nary white T-Shirt, as a stand against con­sumerism.

A Desert Island Discs riff: what book/​ob­ject would you take with you?
Desert is­lands writ­ten by Gilles Deleuze. It may be use­less if I am on a desert is­land, but it may be of some help if I am not.

What have you heard that you should­n’t have?
My mother told me she had de­cided to have an abor­tion be­fore I was born. It was she, 8-months-old, who was sup­posed to be my sis­ter. My mother stared at her face af­ter the op­er­a­tion, her only re­quire­ment, and then left the hos­pi­tal with­out say­ing a word. Later, she told me we looked in­cred­i­bly sim­i­lar. At times she com­pared me with her imag­i­nary daugh­ter, she felt re­gret­ful. She cried. Other times she said, you should­n’t have a sis­ter. Your fam­ily prefers a boy.’

What have you seen that you wish you had­n’t?
Two scenes. When I was a child, I saw a child die in front of me be­cause part of a fer­ris wheel fell off. I feel guilty be­cause I have no feel­ing now. Another is a scene of nu­dity. I used to see a group of naked women walk­ing back and forth in my neigh­bor’s room, as if they were play­ing some erotic game, though to me it looked ab­surd rather than erotic. The scene had some­how ru­ined my sense of eroti­cism. There was a time when I felt only the odd­ness in­volved with per­ceiv­ing one’s body.

What do you like?
Stars, sparkling wa­ter, lit­er­a­ture, films, games and the me­trop­o­lis.

What do you re­ally like?
Literature and the me­trop­o­lis. I can’t live with­out ei­ther. They de­fine me.

Spread a fa­vorite ru­mour?
My class­mate in high school once in­tro­duced me to a the­ory, which he deeply held to be true. It pro­poses that our en­tire uni­verse ex­ists in­side a leg hair of a vast crea­ture. After telling me this, he pulled a hair from his leg, com­pared it with the other hairs on his leg in terms of length and colour, and called it the prin­ci­ple of par­al­lel uni­verses.

Right now, what can you smell?
A foul smell. I guess some­thing in my room is rot­ting.

Tell us a dirty thought.
This scene is orig­i­nally from the novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

A group of naked women walk into the swim­ming pool - you are one of them. All of you line up, await­ing or­ders from the man who stands in front. His fa­cial ex­pres­sion seems hi­lar­i­ous but his ac­tions are, on the con­trary, deadly: he waves his pis­tol and then ran­domly shoots at one of the women. You plead with him in des­per­a­tion, ap­peal­ing to his hu­man­ity, but he replies in ma­chine-like tones. You are in a mixed at­mos­phere of ridicu­lous­ness, eroti­cism, and death. This scene is dirty not be­cause of its im­plied eroti­cism and scenes of death but be­cause of the merg­ing of ridicu­lous­ness and bu­reau­cracy. It is dirty to read this scene, to think about it.