Wednesday, September 17, 2008

finding comfort in Shanghai

I was lead into a semi-clean alley with a group of my peers from our arts and media class for our visit to an arts exhibition. Not being given any prior background on where we were about to go, I had no idea what to expect. I noticed a wall surrounding a home with shards of glass on top of it, and soon realized that we were walking into an apartment. I walked up the narrow steps which led into a narrow hallway. To my left was a man chopping meats, to my right, a kitchen where we were asked to take off our shoes. If this were any situation besides a class field trip I would have immediately turned around and left but onwards I went. I walked inside a little room and the first thing I saw was a rack with white T-shirts with black pieces of advice on them. People started filtering into the room on the right. I glanced in and saw people stepping on the green tiles, tiles that came off the floor! "Oh, crap" I thought to myself, until I realized that every inch of the floor in that room was like that--tiles stuck on time of some sort of foam cushion material. I walked in, feeling the plush cushion fold underneath my weight, causing the tiles to rise and tickle my foot ever so slightly. I moved around the room with a little bounce in my step while the artists came in and passed out sheets of papers indicating what each part of the exhibition was. It was only then when it hit me that I was in the actual exhibition. The tiles moving up and down with every step I took I believe showed how no matter how volatile the world is, it will move with you. Every step and every move you make will affect your surroundings. Every push you make onwards, the more some force will push back, but not enough to stop you. The mysterious smoke emanating from the depths of a random table in the corner of the room showed that not all things are clear cut and even though it was strange to see the smoke coming from a drawer, that not all questions needed to be answered.

I walked into the next room, filled with strategically placed note cards and objects. Each note contained a piece of the artist's opinion, most of them filled with animosity towards his father. I felt as if I was looking directly into a part of the artist's life. This was the first time I had ever been in an art exhibition of this kind, and it allowed me to appreciate that everything I had seen. Every single placement of a photograph, a toothbrush in the bathroom, the air conditioner, the angle of the telescope looking out, were all placed there for a reason, for a purpose. The artists was trying to convey their feelings through their vision of what they deemed "Comfortable" in a bustling and growing metropolis. The simple representations of their world and what was in it tells us about their life.

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