As a foreign Chinese living in America, I have to speak a second language and learn new social "rules"--it has been like starting life over. Living here I have a stronger awareness and sensitivity about cultural issues than when I was in China, and am more able to observe from different perspectives cultures, as well as myself, changing.
In this age of information explosion, the transplantation of cultures into one another is continuously occurring, and cultures that were once seemingly different have gradually become similar; the gaps that once existed are now narrowing. This is not only a new age but also a weird age.
My piece combines Chinese and Western cultures, playing with Chinese cultural signifiers and perception by first prompting assumptions of culture and then breaking them. I attempt to reveal the truth with humor and absurdity with the use of fake paper made of plaster, printing ink substituting for Chinese calligraphic ink, and fake calligraphic characters that are in fact pictogram representations of Western brands, objects and concepts.
The background is made up of a shiny mosaic-like pattern, referencing the aftereffects of Western industrialization as well as the color of Sycee Silver, the ancient silver money of China. The strange contrast between the background and content is to arouse puzzlement in the viewer and induce a desire to understand the work.
The audio of the piece consists of words mostly from the images shown on the wall piece being read aloud. In China, many Western concepts are phonetically translated to Chinese and their original meanings are usually lost in a different language system. Each sound is made up of two fragments--an English word and its Chinese translation. Meshed together, they are also fake sounds, thus complementing and adding another layer of understanding to the wall piece.
With my work I attempt to open up some questions: Is seeing believing? What is modern culture? Is materialism invading Chinese culture, or is Western culture being invaded by Chinese culture? In contemplating these questions, the viewer is led to rethink issues of culture and human identity, globalization, materialism and industrialization.