Golden Shield


A large stain of red fluid takes over the highway, the sky, and the screen. Through simple, subtly animated graphic elements, Actop alters the environment in order to obtain a graphic reality that is in a state of constant mutation. Golden Shield is a video made for Undercurrent, an installation by the London collective D-Fuse, which takes form through video, photography and audio sources compiled in China.

“Old style censorship is being replaced with a massive, ubiquitous architecture of surveillance: the Golden Shield. Ultimately, the aim is to integrate a gigantic online database with an all-encompassing surveillance network – incorporating speech and face recognition, closed-circuit television, smart cards, credit records, and Internet surveillance technologies.” (Greg Walton, International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development)

Presented with the challenge to create a video work about urban architecture, social mutation, and relationships with the environment, for its collaborative work with D-Fuse, Actop chose images shot from a bridge in the middle of a road junction with the aim of denouncing the repression of free information. Golden Shield is the name of the software for selective censorship that was implemented by the People’s Republic of China in 2003. Actop’s video portrays the city’s road traffic networks, using them as a metaphor for cyber-highways; spaces that change due to sound impulses, and that are contaminated with red liquid (a result of state blocks to global communication, and a consequence of the restrictions on informative freedom).

The authors of the work, through the use of the third person, become privileged observers with an objective gaze on the labyrinthine road network. The camera, with its omniscient gaze, moves through the traffic flow with an immutable panoramic shot, creating distortions of the mind among incarnate escapisms. Golden Shield presents a collage of electronic images that links different times and points of view simultaneously in order to obtain an apocalyptic clip which outlines the ambiguity of whether the victim is the city or the person who looks on (blood dripping over the eyes, clouding over sight).

Technical datasheet

  • Title: Golden Shield
  • Direction: ACTOP
  • Production: ACTOP/D-Fuse. 2006.
  • Duration: 00:02:02
  • Original format: Quicktime
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: NTSC - PAL
  • License: Copyright