Class notes following visual artist Qiu Anxiong presentation in the classroom- dated 11.3.06, provided by NYU student Erica D Swallow. Thank you Erica for sharing your notes with us.
o Birds on branches (flying onto and off of tree at times)
o Shot in black and white to mirror traditional Chinese painting that used black and white ink
o Constant beat is heard in the background (percussion/bongo)
o Heavy bass sound as if in a dungeon; haunting drone sounds
o Interestingly, he gives mention to the cast as: “Cast: Wind Cloud Tree Bird”
o He says that this piece is about Time:
• Modern people see time as a very fast thing
• We seldom look for natural development. We always need stories.
• This is a natural time flow, but in the film it seems very slow and much longer. Actually, however, it is just a normal progression of time.
• This is a basic Chinese philosophy used to look at the world, especially during the Song dynasty – One should try to blend in with the environment instead of taking a third person point of view. This is very typical of traditional Chinese art, as well. The artist will blend in with the environment.
• From a distance, you can’t see the movement of the trees as they gently sway in this video, but if really focus, you can see it. In this way, we should look at the natural progression of time in everyday life. From a distance, we may not see things moving, but if we put our soul into it, we can see how everything is moving and changing
• Anxiong’s Ideas on the Point of Art
o Instead of looking at the history and progression of art as a form of expression to understand art as a media, we should look at the world. When we look at the world, we look at true history.
o We look at the world with a whole system of symbols. We have lost the instinct to see the world in a direct way for what it really is in essence. Instead, we see an expressive world, rather than a truthful one. We use too many symbols to define it.
o We only know part of existence. We don’t know all of it.
o Today we have so much knowledge. Knowledge has cut the world into pieces. We no longer have a world in its entirety. Our world is categorized and humanized.
o We need an original way of looking at the world: an origin. It is important to every culture to have this type of origin.
o Although China is developing into a very complex system, we still ask ourselves the same elementary questions about our origins. Still, we are puzzled.
o For example, we look at a computer and think it is easy to understand. We know what it does and we can use it. But we can’t see what is inside it and we do not know how it really functions. We look at our world in this way. We think we understand the world, but really we do not know its truths.
o Unfortunately, we look at our world from a point of knowledge and understanding, not from a participatory point of view. We distance ourselves from the world, and we no longer have a mutual relationship.
o He uses art to connect with the world in a more intimate way. This is his general understanding of art.