Holy Crapparel (written in 2015)
Garbage, scraps, rubbish, discards, rejects, trash, shit, crap, debris, detritus, etc. Beside the obvious ecological and environmental affects of accumulating material waste and the various sustainable design and architectural discourses that tackle these problems, I’m also interested in how ‘waste’ is defined and considered in socio-cultural/socio-economic terms such as neglected/rejected/marginalised/minority groups and individuals (gypsies, slum dwellers, squatters, outcasts, criminals, immigrants). The English expression of “white trash” is one of many linguistic examples that indicates how we reject a group by referring them to as “waste”. What kind of values and ideologies do we harbour when judging function and dysfunction? Moreover, I’m drawn to discarded histories, obscure and esoteric forms of understanding that are banished underground, regarded as superstitious, ignorant and irrational. I have great admiration for autodidacts, amateurs and self-organised cultures that are able to find their own way of learning and making outside of formal and established institutions. On top of that, I also love a healthy dosage of obscenity and vulgarity, i.e. trashiness!
Transformation happens on two levels in the process of (re)using waste. The act of (re)using waste in the most broadest sense is not only the simple however fundamental ability to create and invent, but also the ability to perceive usefulness, beauty and even divinity in something that has been declared worthless. On one level, it’s the ingenuity that transforms space, material, object, knowledge concept etc., with its inherent restrictions giving new possibilities however, more importantly it’s the process of transforming perception that allows the results to come into existence.
Context is everything. Literally and as a matter of relevancy. Entities exist differently from one situation to another. The environment, community, culture, geography etc., affects the existence of the idea/thing/person and vice versa. Improvisation is understanding context and trusting the body and mind to take action based on ‘jamming’ with the environment. This idea is very much in accordance with the Taoist conception of spontaneity, in the way that one follows the natural order, acting spontaneously and trusting one’s intuitive knowledge.
Born in China, raised in Australia and based in Rotterdam, I am a cultural chimera with a hybrid practice working between art, graphic design and media studies. Although not loyal to any particular media, technique or subject, the commonalities throughout my work are critical, investigative and playful approaches that often challenge dominant discourses and hegemonic paradigms.