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Gallery II, Washington State University 1997
A variation of this installation was also shown at the Phoenix Gallery, New York
Medium: Chinese traditional ink, butcher paper, wheat paste, silk panels with photo images using Xerox transfer, thread, Plexiglas, Mao’s red book, Xeroxed and stapled booklets, audio playback of everyday conversations and noises of America
Viewed through the lens of a new immigrant to the U.S., this installation presents second hand experiences of significant events taken place in one’s motherland past and present by juxtaposing China’s cilvil disorder in the late 90’s with the China’s Cultural Revolution in the 60’s. This juxtaposition is set in the sound of everyday American street noises.
The front most silk panel reveals a black and white image of a pair of bonded feet, a painful beauty symbol accepted socially in China from the 13th - 19th century. The other silk panels present images from an official Chinese publication China Reconstruct from 1966 - 1971. Surrounded by the silk panels, a copy of Mao’s little red book, is tightly bounded using thick black thread. The book lies on a piece of fine silk, encased by a plexiglas case, on a pedestal. The back wall is covered by “Da-zi-bao”, a form of humiliation and propaganda in the shape of a large handwritten poster used for everything from sophisticated debate to satirical entertainment to rabid denunciation. In this work, the content of “Da-zi-bao” include round-trip air fare from Shanghai to Taipei via Hong Kong, Chinese delicacy recipes, excerpts from a controversial book published in 1996 titled “China Can Say No”, lyrics of the popular songs sung daily during the Cultural Revolution brought popular again by the taxi drivers in the late 1990’s, and Chinese stock market index on May 25th, 1997. May 25th 1966 was the publication of the first “Da-zi-bao” which triggered the Cultural Revolution. Viewers to the installation are also invited to take with them a Xerox copy booklet of the English translations of the “Da-zi-bao” from this work.