Thunderclap Artist Talk

Artist Talk by Amy Suo Wu

Artist: Amy Suo Wu
Date: 05. 22, 2017
Location: I: project space

“Thunderclap”, a steganographic fashion zine, that instrumentalizes fashion accessories to publish He-Yin Zhen's writing into the public sphere. It is the first manifestation of the larger body of research of Amy Wu Suo, called “The New Nüshu” that investigates Chinese feminism, language politics, steganography and publishing in the context of China.

After finishing her three-month artist-in-residence at I: project space, Amy will give an in-depth talk about this research. Stay tuned for the week after on the 30th May, the artist’s studio will be turned into an open workspace where you can customize your own outfit into walking zines with “Thunderclap” patches and ribbons.

Steganography as form of secret writing, is the art and science of hiding information within public information. At the centre of this practice is the instrumentalization of the benign to reach new audiences. Fashion is generally regarded as 'toothless' or ‘politically harmless’. Can this apparent innocence be instrumentalized as a cover to spread alternative knowledge?

“Thunderclap” attempts to answer this provocation by steganographically distributing the work of He-Yin Zhen (1886-1920?), — an early female theorist who figured centrally in the birth of Chinese feminism — on fashion accessories such as patches and ribbons on clothing in China. These accessories contain quotes from He-Yin Zhen’s essay in English nested around a QR code that when scanned, downloads her original Chinese writing. This action aims to reinsert He Yin Zhen’s writing back into Chinese history and public knowledge because her bold writings were considered radical and dangerous in her lifetime and gradually have been lost from the historical record in China. Furthermore, her writings reminds us that feminism is not only a contemporary (Western) consciousness but also one that was articulated in imperial China.

Central to the “Thunderclap” project is the idea of instrumentalization, the practice of using one thing to achieve another. Firstly, utilising the medium of fashion as a ‘walking zine’ – an alternative and self-publishing medium that is simultaneously intimate (private) and broadcasted to the masses (public).

Secondly, taking advantage of decoration and ornamentations’ mass appeal as a covert vehicle to spread and distribute alternative knowledge and more specifically English text as a visual teaser, ‘scan bait’, information lubricant. The current Chinese fashion trend is to use English text on clothes as a value signifier. The aesthetics of Western culture is signified through latin based alphabet and literally becomes the embodiment of 'high culture'. This popularity allows for further distribution and circulation.

And thirdly, the weaponisation of decoration and ornamentation as an act of steganographic publishing that considers the safety of the people that distributes her writing. In this way, the instrumentalization of decoration negotiates and balances visibility and invisibility, exclusion and inclusion, online and offline, subversion and innocence.

“Thunderclap” is the first manifestation of the larger body of the research by Amy Wu Suo called "The New Nüshu", an ongoing research project.

Link
http://amysuowu.net

艺术家: Amy吴索
时间: 2017年5月22日
地点: I: project space

“霹雳”是一份隐写时尚“杂志”,通过对时尚饰品的手段化运用来将何殷震的写作散播至公共领域。此项目是一个更大的研究主题——“新女书”项目的第一阶段,其中探索了中国语境下的女权主义、语言政治、隐写术和出版业现状。

在结束了她于 I: project space 为期三个月的驻留后,Amy吴索将于5月22日就其研究内容同大家作一次深入对话。随后的一周(5月30日),艺术家的工作室将对外开放,并邀请大家依各自意愿,用“霹雳”布贴和衣带将自己的衣服装饰成“行走的杂志”。

隐写术作为保密书写的形式,是一种在公共信息传播中隐藏特定信息的艺术兼科学。这一实践的中心,是运用亲切的沟通手段以接触更多受众。时尚被普遍认为是“无齿的”或“对政治无害的”,那么其明显的无辜性是否可作为掩饰手段来传播另类的知识?

“霹雳”项目尝试通过使用类似于中国传统服装中布贴和衣带的时尚饰品来散布何殷震(1886年-?,中国女性主义诞生初期的一位重要女性理论家)的思想、言论,从而对此问题作出回应。这些饰品上印有何殷震文字作品的英文版节选,和一个通向下载其中文原文的二维码。

这一行动旨在将何殷震的写作重新引入中国历史的叙事和公共知识领域,因为其在世期间大胆的发声,曾一度被视为过于激进和危险的言论,因而逐渐地从中国历史纪录中流失。她留下来的文字提醒我们,女性主义不仅仅是一个当代(西方)的意识,而早在帝制时期的中国就已有所发声。

“霹雳”项目的核心是其手段化的概念,即通过一件事情而达成另一件事情的实践。首先,时尚被当作一个替代性和自出版的媒介,在这一项目中成为“行走的杂志”——它在和穿衣者保持亲密关系的同时,也能将穿衣者欲表达的信息传达给其周围的公众。

其次,装饰品对大众的吸引力——尤其是能在中国时尚潮流中起视觉传情、视觉诱饵和信息润滑剂作用的英文文字——在此项目中被转用为散播另类知识的隐蔽载体。基于拉丁字母的英文文字作为能指,指向了中国时尚潮流中对西方“高雅文化”的审美,这一潮流作为前提保证了本项目内容的进一步散播和流通。

再而,通过对装饰品的武器化来进行隐写术法的出版考虑了散播何殷震文字的人的安全。依此,对装饰品的运用在多种对立的关系中进行了协商和调衡:可见性-不可见性,排除-包容,在线-离线,颠覆-无辜。

“霹雳”是Amy吴索“新女书”项目的第一阶段,这是一个会在将来持续推进的研究项目。

链接
http://amysuowu.net

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