I just returned from a four month journey! Three months of which were at an artist residency in Beijing. I can't believe it's over! What a journey! Where to start? In a strange way, I can describe my time in Beijing as a kind of born again experience, and quite literally just that. Everything I experienced was new. I had to relearn as if a child. From simple communication to everyday tasks like buying groceries my world digressed into a sort of adolescence providing an interesting perspective to reflect upon my life and work.
Above all, the connections I made with the people and city were life changing. I feel as if my community of similar minded artists has expanded exponentially. The residency program sponsored 18 artists from all over China, and 12 international artists. We shared everything. As a group we worked, cooked, laughed, cried, learned, and travelled together—you name it. Upon arrival at the museum there was a “shao kao” or traditional Chinese barbeque. From the outset the community was engaged and very welcoming. Of course communication was difficult at times, but everyone was eager to share ideas. Dundun, now a dear friend, was one of the Chinese artists that helped translate. However, when he wasn’t around both the foreign and Chinese artists took turns talking and teaching each other their respective languages and cultures. At one point, multiple artists were correcting my Chinese, each one stressing a different pronunciation. Turns out, almost every artist was from distant regions within China where the dialect is slightly, or at times very different! Hence, my learning grew upon a wide range ideas and opinions from artists all over the country. In my heart I know the relationships built and nurtured at the residency will be life long. From museums to small city alleyways, from the homes of local artists to remote country roads I witnessed the diverse tapestry of Beijing culture. A appreciate the intimacy of knowing a place by walking it. Here, the feeling of time and timelessness were suspended together throughout the city. On the other hand to unite this idea with my persistent self-inquiry, the bulk of my trip remained in painting, drawing, photography, visual research and at times more experimental media.
In all honesty my recent trek through Beijing was one of the most difficult and rewarding endeavors I have ever embarked on. It has truly expanded my consciousness in ways I could never have predicted and now my life, my mind, and my art are better for it. As I settle back into the States, I'll update these words to reflect my continuing life here.
Classical Literature (Epic of Gilgamesh, Iliad, the Aeneid)
Poetry (Rumi, Cummings, Saul Williams)
French Lit (Proust, L'étranger, Les Misérable, Le Petit Prince)
Philosophy (where to start, I'm into Richard Rorty at the moment)
Seriously, anything about art
Goonies, The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle, Irreversible, Eraserhead, Rubber, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain, Babies, Watership Down, High Fidelity, Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind, Ten. This list is a very wide spread =). I would love to watch Women Without Men by Shirin Neshat, but I haven't had the time to track it down. And the list goes on...
Sadly, I haven't had a tv in 12 years, so my knowledge of sitcoms and pop culture are nil in comparison to any teenage girl.
Music: this hurts there's just too much
The XX, Iron and Wine, Starfucker, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, LCD Sound System, Andrew Bird, Horse Feathers, Beck, Miss Li, Soko, Sufjan Stevens, Little Pictures, Gorrillaz, Fleet Foxes, Lykke Li, Nick Drake, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Dø, I'm from Barcelona, The Black Keys.
Please check out www.blogotheque.net Its amazing.
www.terroreyes.tv is the Sacramento version. Pregnant does their video at my house!
My head hurts...