Archive for July 10, 2005

Yang Fudong

Shangart’s got a treasure trove of images from Yang Fudong

Mr. Fudong’s work as Frieze recently pointed out, focuses more on pleasure than politics. He seems to be plumbing the depths of China’s boom world for all the erotic imagery and pyschology undertone you can handle. I might add this flirtatiousness seems to be fairly big in China. After all Wong Kar-Wai’s 2046 explores similar terrian of sex, fun, and personality in China (and it will definitely convince you that Ziyi Zhang is really hot.). Of course dating and all that giggling and what I’d associate with 50s level sock-hops seems to be all the rage in Asia in general. People love to date, they like to flirt, and it all seems harmless until a sexual predator enters the situation and stalks your ass. But what’s behind it all? I mean is Japan’s obession with robotics similar to the medevial automaton lions that followed queens around in the middle ages? Actually no, as the Japanese pointed out their robots are cheap and are being built for practical purposes (the dancing robots aside). Fudong obviously is Chinese, but similar technology obessions flow around most of Asia. For instance my Neural Networking book is written by a Chinese, a Japanese, and an India researcher and their introduction focuses mostly on creating robots, even telling us about telerobotic slaves we’ll one day have… maybe from algorithims in their book. Such and introduction stands in contrast with the many other books on neural networking by Western researchers. So do these mute faces and mysteries

represent some type of reaction to the Asian assumption that behavoir is algorithmic? Nah, not really. Although the boat picture does somehow remind me of the animatronics at disney and it’s farce on emotion and ability does seem to capture that frustration or amazement at the ability of our world to lie down in the face of quantification. Such questions of ya know 1984 style cyborg oh we’re all gonna be robots to a giant slave state stuff does seem kinda cliched. Shangart itself perhaps best captures the gist of it’s own artists letting it’s curators (in remarkably well written english) comment on their own artists.

“As the largest city in China, most social activities in Shanghai are directly connected with commerce. In such a rhythm, the activities and the works done by contemporary artists are often treated as tunes without harmony.” – Lu Leiping, Views from Onlooker’s Horizons: Labyrinth of Shanghai

Mr. Fudong’s work is definitely a tune with a harmony. Like so much work it mirrors a design and intention in the world we can’t see with our eyes, but might be found if we ask the right questions.

July 10, 2005 at 9:18 pm Leave a comment

More Bloggy Books: Blink by Malcom Gladwell

Oonce upon a time in Florida I was trying to date beautiful girl who liked to go for summer drives. One night as we inevitably checked out another thrift mart one of Florida’s major highways we ran into a sign. It proclaimed something to the effect of “The American’s only weapon is chaos.” or something like that. It came from a German general and she took it with her. Since then I’ve remember blearly in the back of the mind. It seemed like a good omen of things to come.
Surprisingly, this exact thinker, the german military strategist in question, seems to pop up on Malcom Gladwell’s Blink. Like Freakonomics it’s an intelligent read that’s highly engrossing and definitely shows just how weird Asia is. I mean Freakonomics is available in Korean and well stocked in English here.

Anyway, Blink takes us through pyschology instead of economics to explain all those weird ephemera or the modern day world. Gladwell’s targets revolve around the ability to make split second decessions and the preparation that goes into it all. Like anything else in life, a fairly well prepared dude will do better with split second judgements than say your average police officer. Gladwell’s widespread celebration of seat of your pant’s style thinking is certianly part of the whole grandoise myth of America. Gladwell’s insight into the world though can be a little astonishing. He frequently admonishes the bogging down of people with excessive information. Good for him. Obviously Apple figured this out awhile ago and most of Asia’s religions have embraced such simplicity in it’s purest form. But as an information addict who’s RSS feeds are bursting over with blogs and daily news I can only say I couldn’t agree more, I’m secretly preparing myself for that one day where I will need to recite all 9 major policies in China’s recent green reniassance or the basics kim-chi making (it requires a 4 door refirgator and a lot of time). The general Gladwell profiles uses this semi-chaotic structure to his advantage, letting each group localize customs while minimizing communication between each group. It’s really quite amazing and reminds me of my job in Korea a lot. The only reason why teaching in Korea rules is that no one fucks with you. I mean mothers complain and want classes taught a certian way, but for the most part I can photocopy One Piece comics for one class, subvert small school children with plays, and teach the boring kids english whenever I want it. It’s pretty damn close to heaven. Frankly if American’s schools want to excel they need to localize rules and regulations and get off the dick of beauracratic clogging down-isms. After all most of Asia’s major faminines have occured becuase of centralizing farming customs. Bringing new inventions like fertilizer to people in the middle ages was great, but requiring all North Korean or Chinese farmers to farm a certian way proved disasterous. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Giving each individual a simple goal in a complex environment can have amazing consequences, and each role of the education improves our ability to thin-slice through life’s many occupations. Blink is a book about improving your assumptions by subverting the basics of thought and predujice through clever and fairly simple means. It’s kinda like recycling, the whole thing seems fairly obvious, but finding people who actually do it can be kinda hard. Anyway, giving this book away next weekend. If your in Seoul gonna leave it at the Express Bus Terminal.


July 10, 2005 at 4:19 am Leave a comment


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