[Table of Contents] [Search]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

other people's artifacts (was Chinese Funeral Paper)

Well, I guess I might as well jump in.  The one analogous situation I can
think of is the Japanese T-shirt printed with a nonsense English phrase.
Don't know if everyone's familiar with them, and I don't know if they are
still popular, but during the 80's, they were really huge in Japan. They
were basically random English words strung together. They might have made
sense translated back into Japanese, I don't know.  Some shirts were printed
with very offensive language (the f*** word, the sh** word, etc).

I like this example -- we can talk about Asians appropriating American
culture, and not using the 'artifact' (language) as originally intended.
I'm sure that some people found them offensive, particular those with the
swear words, but I think that the whole 'movement' really was meant,
consciously or not, to honor an aspect of American culture, namely,
self-expression.  The shirts gave them an opportunity not available in
traditional Japanese culture.  Of course, what they were expressing didn't
make a lot of sense to Americans, but that was ok with them.

I find this to be very similar to Jim's intention of using the funeral paper
as a basis for painting dormant plants.  To me, he's honoring the belief
that death is but a dormant period during which one has similiar needs as
when one's alive, and from which you will re-emerge to live again.  Is there
an American artifact that Jim could use that also represents this believe?
I don't know.

Although I don't actually believe in the power of the joss paper or ghost
money, this seems to me a well thought out solution to what he's trying to
achieve.  I would, however, argue against using the papers for purely
decorative purposes, as I have seen in other cases.


            BOOK_ARTS-L: The listserv for all the book arts.
      For subscription information, the Archive, and other related
            resources and links go to the Book_Arts-L FAQ at:

[Subject index] [Index for current month] [Table of Contents] [Search]