Sheng Wen Lo | The March of the Great White Bear

Dalian forest Zoo, China (2015) © Sheng-Wen Lo

The Videoroom
The March of the Great White Bear
by Sheng Wen Lo

The March of the Great White Bear (2017) is a video that depicts polar bears on display and their artificial habitats. It attempts to portray the dilemmas concerning captive animal programs. These videos are not looped: they are based on the “stereotypical behaviours (endless repetition of a fixed sequence of movements)” of polar bears in captivity, recorded in 17 enclosures worldwide. Ethological studies have shown that stereotypical behaviours stem from limited captive environments that do not satisfy the animals’ normal behavioural needs. It is also seen as a sign of psychological distress in animals. However, it should be noted that stereotypes do not necessarily correspond to poor condition at the time — it can stem from poor welfare in an earlier stage in the course of the animal’s life. For more information, please visit White Bear.
Sheng-Wen Lo, born in 1987 in Taiwan, is currently based in the Netherlands. Sheng’s work focusses on the relation between humans and animals and attempts. His practice involves the use still/moving images, video games and various other media. He received his MA in photography from AKV|St.Joost in the Netherlands, and MSc in computer science from the Computer Music Lab at National Taiwan University. As a scientist, scientific methodologies are also crucial to his work.
His recent work has been shown in EYE Filmmuseum and World Press Photo in The Netherlands, ICP Museum in New York, FORMAT Photo Festival and Belfast Photo Festival in UK, OrganVida Photo Festival in Croatia, and LianZhou Foto Festival in China. Sheng will be an artist in residence at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam during 2019 and 2020.