Image Zone The Rules of Childhood


Video Zone



Li Shanshan


Zuo Zhihong, Xu Xinying

Imaging as an Observer

Guest: Zuo Zhihong, Xu Xinying
Host: Li Shanshan
Date: Saturday, August 22, 2020
Time: 13:30-17:30
Venue: Multimedia Hall, Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum

Notice: For public health security, please make a real-name preservation and bring your ID for admission of the event. Please wait in line to get your temperature measured, hands sanitized, and information registered with the help of our staff. Please wear a face mask during the event. If you are experiencing a fever, coughing, or short breath, please understand that admission is not granted.

“Lucky fellas heal their whole life with their childhood, while the others heal their childhood with their whole life.”

The way one thinks, behaves, and acts is greatly determined by their experience of interacting with the surroundings when they were young. The childhood experience is not rational, but sensational. After all these years, memories blurred and that experience is often a vague shadow in one’s mind.
However, by watching two documentary films from the perspective of an observer, we may recollect these important pieces of life, and reflect on our education and ourselves.


“Kindergarten” by Zhang Yiqing represents the life at a publicly financed kindergarten that most of us find familiar. Behind all those hands tidily put on the desks are pairs of smart eyes, young but not so innocence. They have long known the rules of kindergarten life, or perhaps, the rules of the grown-up world. The Norwegian documentary “Childhood” records a year’s life at Waldorf kindergarten in Oslo. It seemed like a heavenly place, where children happily play in the wilderness with few restrictions but only a few gentle guiding words from the teachers. Can these children get along with the outside world?

When we leave the society environment and pedagogy out of the picture, all we see is the children’s true selves, which raises a question: what do the children really need?

The curator is going to shed a light with analysis of the film taking and image making, while he is going to talk to the educators who has the first-hand experience of pre-school education. We are going to go deeper into the details of the films.


Introduction of the films

Director: Zhang Yiqing
Country: China|Year: 2004|Running time: 70 min

At a boarding kindergarten in Wuhan, Hubei Province, a group of innocent children showed their true selves with no disguise. They cried for leaving their parents in the morning; they fought for the occasional disputes; they lost their temper over a piece of clothes that is too hard to put on, or a chair that they failed to put away; they also started a nonstop discussion about the sequence of Thursday and Friday. There is no right or wrong in them. Their mind is like a blank sheet of paper that is waiting for the scribbles, but already painted by the values from adults. The careless words they uttered also contain some thought-provoking undertone.
The production of the film began in May, 2001. After three to four months’ observation and preparation, the shooting started from September, 2001, and ended after 14 months. In March, 2004, the editing work was wrapped. The film won the “Best Creativity Prize for Humanity Documentary” of 10
th Shanghai Television Festival, as well as the Grand Prize of 2004 Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival.

Director: Margreth Olin 
Country: Norway|Year: 2017|Running time: 90 min

Childhood as an age of extraordinary imagination, games, and sense of security in a world bordered by the close horizon is explored in this observational documentary that focuses on a year in the life of a Norwegian Waldorf kindergarten. This sensitive study of the expressions of modern, progressive pedagogy can renew viewers’ faith in education and the importance of the work of educators.

Schedule of the Event

13:30-14:40 “Kindergarten” display
14:50-16:20 “Childhood” display
16:25-17:30 Lecture and Q&A

About the Guests

Zuo Zhihong

Zuo had a Ph.D. at Developmental Psychology. She is an associate professor at School of Education Science, East China Normal University. She is the secretary of Pre-School Education Professional Commission of the Chinese Society of Education, member of Pre-School Education Professional Commission of the Shanghai Federation of Social Science Associations. She focuses on pre-school developmental psychology and education, kindergarten management, pedagogy research of 0-3 years old children’s development and education. She is the leader of the Eleventh Five-Year Plan (Education Science) of the National Social Science Fund of China, Project of Humanity and Social Science Fund of Minister of Education, Shanghai Philosophy and Social Science Planning project, Shanghai “Science, Technology and Innovation Action Plan” etc. Her book Mass Media and Children’s Cognitive Development won the first prize of 11th Shanghai Educational Science Award. She also edited the text book Profession Ethnic of Kindergarten Teachers, which won the “Excellent Shanghai’s University Textbook Prize.”

Xu Xinying

Mother of two children. She has been engaged with education since 2005 for her children. In 2010 she joined Waldorf Education, whose mission on following children’s nature and focusing on the balance of all-round development attracted her. She was one of the founders of Shanghai Fuyuan School and also the headteacher of Children’s Home. With almost 10 years’ of educating experience, she believes that “every education is self-education”—only by perfecting themselves could the educators become the guardians and company of children. May every kid walk into the world with a seed of kindness.

About the Host

Li Shanshan

Producer of independent films and curator. She has worked for Chinese Young Generation Film Forum, Li Xianting’s Film Fund, Da Huang Pictures, etc. She lives in Guangzhou. She was nominated with her film “the Road” at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam and with Shanghai Youth she was the Best 10 Documentary Film at Chinese Independent Film Festival. She is the founder and curator of Beyond the Frozen Point Film Festival and the curator of 1st Hainan International Film Festival.

She is also a mother to two children, who enrolled in Waldorf education.

About the Image Zone

Image Zone is a long-term non-profit project organized by the Public Education Department of Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum. The project supports the display, studies, and communication of image and video art. Through displaying and discussing about films, animation, video art of different categories, different countries and regions, and different forms, Image Zone is dedicated to constructing an interdisciplinary image archive with workshops and seminars involving artists, scholars, and the public. The project is to build a solid foundation for creation, academic study, and public educating of image art.