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Pan Lu is a researcher, curator and video artist based in Hong Kong. Bo Wang is an artist and film director based in Amsterdam. Together, they explore the Chinese colonial history and post-colonial discourses in Asia.

For the exhibition, Pan and Wang investigated the history of cocoa production in Hainan, China in the post-socialist context: Xinglong Overseas Chinese Farm, located in the island outside Wan Ning City was where cocoa was first cultivated by the Chinese people who returned from Indonesia in the 1950s. It is the northernmost place for cocoa cultivation in the world. During socialism, Hainan was embodying 'tropicality' and cocoa seeds, coffee or rubber were smuggled in. Today, there is a popular tourist restaurant in the farm called “Remembering the Bitterness and Thinking about the Sweet Memories.”

For the exhibition, Pan Lu & Bo Wang have created an interactive board game that prompts viewers to assume the roles of various historical figures, including an overseas Chinese merchant, a female revolutionary soldier, a French missionary, a German anthropologist, a Japanese informer, a Chinese military officer, and a native Li weaver. Players engage in a race to be the first to cultivate cocoa in Hainan, thereby exploring the complex dynamics and legacies of war, colonialism and revolution on the island.

To build their narrative and design the diverse characters’ adventures, the artists drew on historical facts, yet the stories they tell are still fictional.

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