The ten photographs that comprise the current exhibition in Arrow Factory are the result of a subjective research project carried out in Beijing by artist Song Ta. Over a period of two weeks, the artist visited various hospitals around the city, made appointments with random physicians and quietly observed and photographed the on-duty doctors as they interacted with patients, family members, staff, and went about their daily activities. Based on his observations and personal experiences, Song Ta formed his own “top ten” list of favorite doctors. He has chosen to share this list with the public through a selection of photographs at Arrow Factory that include each doctor’s name, specialty and hospital affiliation. My Ten Favorite Doctors thus presents two obverse readings—it is a completely subjective and intuitive enterprise—consequently it can be easily dismissed as unsystematic and meaningless; but at the same time it provides a valuable service to the public that can prove useful to the local residents of Jianchang Hutong. Playing with the notions of subjectivity and arbitrariness that lie behind any rating system or “top ten” list, My Ten Favorite Doctors represents a deliberate effort to overlay spheres of intuitive and personal judgment upon the rationalized and analytic systems of institutions.
Song Ta (b.1988) was born in Leizhou, Guangdong Province and graduated from the Painting Department of the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in 2010. Working in installation and video, his work often intertwines systems of officialdom, bureaucracy with transparency and visibility. He currently resides in Guangzhou.
Arrow Factory would like to thank Anthony Yung of Observation Society for his valuable input and assistance with this project.