Cheng, Gao, and Carter featured in Metro Shanghai: Global Times
The local press have been very friendly in the last few months. Here is an article from the Global Times: Metro Shanghai about my coworkers Gao Yifeng, Caroline Cheng, and myself. Click here to read the full text online.
It was great fun to explain the concepts behind my work to a Chinese reporter. It was a reminder that many art concepts are crafted to have meaning within their own culture. Concepts tend to be a slow accumulation of meaning that is culturally agreed upon over long periods of time. If you switch cultures much is lost in translation between the language barriers and the overall knowledge base of the observers. This can cause generalizations to take the place of subtlety. Ideas are minimized to their bare bones. I don't think this is a bad thing because it can be a great teaching tool. The quotes the reporter chose helped me to see what parts of my work she could relate too most. This is a good barometer for how many of my ideas are making it out of my head, through the pots, and too the viewer.
One of the best moments in the interview came when I was explaining that my pottery is a reaction to the hyper work ethic of American culture. (If you work 60 hrs a week it is good to have a physical reminder, i.e. handmade pottery that references unifying cultural symbols and communal gatherings, that you can still slow down to have a meal with your family.) She listened patiently but gave me this "so what" look. This might be because in Chinese culture the family unit remains closer than in the west. People still work 60 hours a week but when they get off they make it a priority to spend time with family. I was talking to a friend this weekend who explained that many people in her generation see their parents at least once a week, if not more, for a meal. She went on to say that she thought people in the west are independent from their families, where as individuals in the east are interdependent within their family. I think these differences and similarities are a rich area to mine for new ideas about functional pottery. I'll have to think more about how pottery serves people's needs within different cultures.