Pi San, Kuang Kuang Kuang Blackboard, 2010.
Since 2005, multimedia artist Pi San（皮三）has been vaulting over the Great Firewall of China with his satirical internet cartoon Kuang Kuang（哐哐). In animations ranging from ironic critiques of the Chinese school system to subtle protests over the detainment of fellow artist Ai Weiwei, Pi San has fearlessly commented on the absurdities of modern Chinese society, earning the devotion of millions of Chinese netizens.
In the semi-autobiographical “Blackboard,” Pi San’s aggressive brand of satire shines as he depicts the Chinese educational system he passed through during the 1980s—a time when students were only allowed to pursue state-sanctioned dreams. As the Communist Party focused its efforts on developing an industrial economy and acquiring international prominence, its propaganda commanded students to “dream” of becoming Comrade Lei Feng—a devoted soldier of the People’s Liberation Army who represented Chairman Mao’s mythical model citizen—or realizing the Party’s Four Modernizations (agriculture, industry, national defense and science and technology). Responding to the consequences of forcing students to fulfill their national duty, Pi San dares to ask: what happens to students like Kuang Kuang, or himself, who don’t?