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    Copyright © 2014 unruly

    A is for aggregation: life

    Here is an immensely moving thing: The Waste Not installation by Song Dong, currently showing at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

    According to Holland Cotter, writing on The New York Times‘s website, Mr. Song’s mother, “Zhao Xiangyua, was born in China in 1938 and died in Beijing in January. For nearly 60 years she lived in the city with her husband and two children in a tiny house crammed with domestic odds and ends — clothes, books, kitchen utensils, toiletries, school supplies, shopping bags, rice bowls, dolls — which were used, then recycled, then indiscriminately hoarded.

    “Now the entire cache, every odd button and ballpoint pen, is in the Museum of Modern Art’s multi-story atrium, along with Ms. Zhao’s fridge and bed.”

    We are each of us more than just an aggregate of objects, much more, but we are that thing too. Looking at the objects from Ms. Zhao’s home, I am reminded that for all our many and often profound differences, we have many and often profound similarities. All the bits and pieces of her life — the pots and pans, the shoes, the toothpaste tubes, the embroidery silks — remind me of the shared experience of trying to make our way through life with some kind of grace, of our efforts to find comfort and safety and happiness no matter who we are, and of the common human desire to find and make meaning in our lives.

    We are so very different and so very not. And I am grateful to be reminded of both those facts.

    song-dong-bottles
    From the Waste Not installation by Song Dong, 2009
    Image via artobserved.com
    song-dong-image-1
    From the Waste Not installation by Song Dong, 2009
    Image via artobserved.com
    song-dong-kitchenware
    From the Waste Not installation by Song Dong, 2009
    Image via artobserved.com
    song-dong-multiplicity
    From the Waste Not installation by Song Dong, 2009
    Image via artobserved.com
    song-dong-overhead
    From the Waste Not installation by Song Dong, 2009
    Image via artobserved.com
    song-dong-shoes
    From the Waste Not installation by Song Dong, 2009
    Image via artobserved.com
    song-dong-variety-1
    From the Waste Not installation by Song Dong, 2009
    Image via artobserved.com
    song-dong-variety-2
    From the Waste Not installation by Song Dong, 2009
    Image via artobserved.com
    song-dong-via-designboomcom
    From the Waste Not exhibition by Song Dong, 2009.
    Image via designboom.com
    song-dong-via-16milescom
    From the Waste Not installation by Song Dong, 2009
    Image via 16miles.com
    song-dong-via-wwwfashionprojectsorg
    From the Waste Not installation by Song Dong, 2009
    Image via fashionprojects.org
    3 Comments

    Saw this exhibit at MoMA last month. We approached it from above– we’d come late-ish in the afternoon, ran up to the top and worked our way down. At the third and second floor balconies you start seeing the house structure and the…. stuff. If you had not read about the exhibit (we had not), you wonder what it’s all about. Some artful mishmash of “found art”, which sometimes wearies me?

    Then you enter from floor level, read about the artist and his mom (who was born around the same time mine was, though mine was born in Beijing and died in the US and was much more assimilated). The amount of things is astounding. They’re arranged just by category, the rows of pots, magazines, used yogurt containers speak for themselves. There’s a sense of recycling and non-waste, yes, but you can’t escape the sense that she also hoarded things beyond the point of sense. This generation that lived through war with the Japanese, the Cultural Revolution, etc, is not unlike our Depression-era relatives, but this woman really kept things to a more strange degree. When I say yogurt containers, I mean those flimsy single-use ones, some cracked and broken beyond all possible use. Fascinating.

    jaylynn milstein added these words on Aug 31 09 at 1:54 pm

    WOW, colgate tubes with the red twist cap. how long has it been since i’ve seen one of those.

    our local junk shop is very appealing to me for this reason – they buy estates and (i guess) eventually get around to going through everything and organizing it in their store. but the furniture will often just get moved into the furniture section and left there, as-is. so you can wander through rows of desks and bedside tables and curio cabinets and open them up to find exactly what the owners left there – letters and underwear and scraps of porn and empty pill bottles and photos and odd socks and to-do lists… god it’s wonderful. i love all those people for their weirdness/normality.

    rache added these words on Sep 01 09 at 10:16 am

    oh my god, it’s my home. really, this is where i’m heading.

    ghadah alkandari added these words on Sep 24 09 at 12:30 am



    Digg!