4 October 2017

Wen-Hsi Harman. A Review

Death 死亡, Earthenware, 16 x 18 x 10 cm, 2015.真正的死亡是人心感到心寒. 相信成為一個過去式
True death does not mean to pass away, instead, it means someone has a cold heat, belief becomes a past tense. 

A remote island 離島 ,25X21X3.2cm, Earthenware,Enamels, mould making. Wall piece 2016

An auspicious beginning 2014 WEN –HSI (Chen) Harman porcelain Size: 32 x 31 x 2 cm Wall piece

Breaking Through,31 x 11cm x 3.5cm. Taiwanese traditional wedding ceremony wooden mould with my porcelain chicken feet,2015.

Island, earthenware, 26 x 22 x 3 cm. 2015. Wall piece.

Survival of the clay, earthenware, porcelain, 22x 16 x 9 cm, 2015.

The wedding cake 11 x 11 x 5 cm Porcelain + Ready made box 2014 .The photo by Christina Freeth

The chicken feet dish 30 x 21 x 10 cm. plaster + ready made object 2015.The photo by Christina Freeth

Wen-Hsi Harman is a ceramic artist based in Bristol, UK. She makes a variety of art consisting of sculpture and wall work.

The central ideas that she explores relates to her identity as a Taiwanese female living in the United Kingdom and her cross-cultural experiences of living in-between two countries Taiwan and the UK.

She deals with the subject of identity for example by using her body as a way to capture her finger-marks on the clay. Additionally, she will use identifiable objects such as Bananas and Chicken Feet. For example during the time of Japanese occupation between 1895 and 1945 resources such as bananas were commonly exploited and shipped back to Japan for their own consumption. Therefore Wen-Hsi has used the banana as an image to symbolize this event in Taiwanese history. She has also used chicken feet as another way to convey Taiwanese identity. Chicken feet are commonly seen as a traditional food in Taiwan. It also relates to the people of Taiwan's attitude towards food as they do not like to create any food waste and so many parts of an animal will be eaten. She has also used other objects such as baby fingers, a traditional bamboo food steamer, a pineapple cake wooden mold as other objects to signify her identity. Some of these objects she uses are then combined together to create associations and new stories.

All of these aspects of her identity is constructed in the UK in a way that relates to Western Abstraction. The sculpture is not supposed to give the viewer a full understanding and story of what they are seeing rather small hints and signifiers. Therefore when viewing these objects it is possible to create new meanings or to be curious and seek answers about the art that has been created. Personally I find this adds another layer because if I want to discover the stories behind these objects I will need to talk to the artist and this opens up another layer of conversation.

To see more of Wen-Hsi's work please visit her website at: www.wenhsichenceramics.com

25 February 2017

The Best That Money Cant't Buy Beyond Politics, Poverty, & War. Jacque Fresco

The Best That Money Cant't Buy Beyond Politics, Poverty, & War. Jacque Fresco. Published by Global Cyber-Visions The Venus Project  

Jacque Fresco based in Amereica is a futurist, inventer and he is interested in human behaviour and how society functions. One of his key concerns is his belief that humans are shaped by their environments.

He is interested in creating a new society free from money were everyone is entitled to the basic necessities of life such as food, water and healthcare. Technology will be at the forefront as it will dramatically reduce human labour therefore allowing humans to focus their attention to more important aspects of life. To briefly summarise this new social and economic system would operate from a Resource Based Economy. Therefore he believes current and emerging technologies related to automation, energy, transport, archetectual design, agriculture and advances in health can be harnessed to create a better world that serves the well-being of each individual and the sustainability of the earth by taking into account resources available.

Quotes of interest taken from the book.

P32: Throughout history we have lived through ages characterised by wasted lives, in which the abilities of a great many have not been fully realised or utilised. Time, effort and minds are wasted on the pursuit of money in occupations that contribute nothing to the human intellect or condition.

P42: Throughout history, many innovators, artists and inventors have been ruthlessly exploited, ridiculed and abused, while receiving very little financial incentive. Yet they endured such hardship, because they were motivated to learn and discover new ways of doing things.

P81: You cannot identify the factors responsible for human behaviour through the study of individuals alone, but rather through a study of the cultures in which individuals are nurtured.

If you would like to discover more information about his research feel free to see the link listed below as there is a lot more detail involved in which I have not included in this post.


My Own Thoughts 

This book was a real eye-opener, the ideas presented may seem at first un-realistic or pure fantasy but knowing that he has dedicated most of his life to researching as well as testing these ideas is one reason to take notice and think about it.

I think personally living and operating in the present society is the norm just like drinking water, I was born into into and taught how to negotiate through it. It interesting to realise that an alternate social and economic system can potentially become a reality. It makes me realise the power of ideas and potential humans have and it re-aferms my own point of view that the constructed environment and the system it operates in is only as real as the idea, it is not solid and can be changed.

I think one main point of concern I have with the ideas presented is the heavy reliance on technology that could potentially make for example human produced art obserlete as machines would be able to do this instead of humans. I wonder how or if the Arts would operate or contribute in this vision of society.

On the other hand this book made me think about the potential art could offer in terms of producing well-being and learning within the built environment.