This installation, comprised of 625 Chinese rice bowls and traditional calligraphy ink, forms the Chinese character Xiang, which connotes the ambiguity of any act of interpretation. The work raises the question: Can calligraphy be expressed using different media (analog vs digital) and yet retain its timeless evocative power?
Xiang immediately brings to mind a digital rendering of the character in pixilated form, expressing our contemporary reality. However, the pixels are made from traditional cultural artifacts—rice bowls and ink—reminding us of the inextricable relationship between calligraphy and the texture of everyday life and civilization. In other words, the artist poses the question: Can digitalization in fact renew calligraphy?
The materials chosen for the installation mimic the deep relationship that has always existed between calligraphy and communal vitality in Chinese culture. Rice bowls are a metaphor for that which, like calligraphy, sustains and nourishes everyday life. The fluidity of the ink permits for both diversity of expression and the permanence of a mark that indelibly leaves its trace.