write repeatedly – the brush enters

31/01/2011 § Leave a comment

with pen

with brush & ink

with brush & ink

working on the ‘write repeatedly’ project with help from Hussain. it’s not a proper title for this project but I can’t think of any other now. had a discussion with H today and a crit with Rathna tmr so I need some feedback first. I’m not very good at planning events for people to participate in. I think due to a number of reasons, like, it is impossible to do, I did not set appropriate parameters thus it won’t work etc etc. I guess the thing to do is to first do the idea yourself, so that I can see the loopholes.
basically, the idea is to do a LIVE recording of a non-native Mandarin speaker writing a set of Mandarin words which is supposed to have motivational/inspirational effect. here is the revised brief I wrote>>>

Writing repeatedly

Labour can be like a ritual, repetitive in nature, brainwashing, a form of punishment and even possess greater purpose and meaning. Referencing Chinese propaganda phrases and quotes, this activity attempts to instill in the participant the values of labour, spirit and ambition and as a test of the participant’s endurance and strength.

a LIVE recording of a non-native Mandarin speaker (participant) writing a set of Mandarin words. The outline of the words are printed on paper (the participant has to follow the strokes) which are fixed to available spaces in the room, preferably to fill the whole room.

Introducing Skill in labour – outlines of words are reduced after a certain amount of labour has been put in

1. Before starting, take a portrait photo of participant (‘the face of a laborer’)
2. Record process. Take different POV. (what angles are good?)
3. Note duration taken to complete task and amount of sentences completed
4. The participant can choose to stop anytime.
5. At completion, take a portrait photo of participant (any changes to ‘the face of a laborer’)
6. Ask a number of questions/a questionnaire to fill out
– how did you feel about the whole experience of writing in a foreign language?
– at what point did you start to feel like you can confidently write the words yourself?
– at what point did you start to feel tired/bored of the repetition?
– do you feel the impact of the meaning of the words or are they just strokes to you?
7. Memorabilia(?)
8. End product
– videos (include. question interview)
– printed matter on details of each activity and participants
– information collected can take the form of info graphics? (comparison, graphs…)

Tools needed
1. Camcorder & tripod
2. Spare handheld camcorder
3. chinese brush & a small bottle of black ink
4. black ink refill
5. tools for hard to reach spaces (ladder,chair…)?
6. watch
7. camera
8. black word outlines printed on A3 red paper

Potential locations
1. room beside computer room
2. DS1-3
3. bridge room
4. gallery space

Potential participants (3 participants of different nationality)
not about to mention now

Details of participants
1. name,age,nationality
2. first language &/ Mother tongue
3. languages spoken/written
4. how much of the Mandarin language does he/she knows?
speak 0–––––––10
read 0–––––––10
write 0––––––––10
knowledge 0––––––––10

1. starting time – fixed
2. location – 3 different locations (one at a time or simultaneously?)
3. time limit to complete task(??) – if there is a challenge, there is no need for a time limit?

Each participant writes a different sentence. Let participant choose which one is most relevant personally.

Benefits to participant
1. Know how to write a motivational sentence on their own (useful at their own time?)
2. a handwritten sentence to take away

1. choosing a positive statement instead of negative(reverse psychology)
– referencing Chinese propaganda/ there is no intention for it to be an explicit punishment/it is supposed to motivate positively
2. non-native speaker engaged in this activity acts as a slant
3. imparting a skill to participant – learning to write a motivational statement in a foreign language
4. why Mandarin?
– a foreign language to participant
– associated with strength/power (think tattoos, kungfu…)
– people generally perceive Mandarin words with reverence possibly due to philosophical texts or just because they do not understand(foreign)
5. Red papercut banner of words
6. obstacles in the room further demonstrate the act of labour (e.g. having to climb the table, standing on a chair…)
7. What matters is not how long you take, or whether you complete the task but an experience of labour and a test of your endurance.
8. using a brush and ink demonstrates skill (labour & skill (vs. unskilled))
9. feedback from Romain: do not know which part of the word to start the first stroke
10. how to print out the long sentence: each word takes up 1A4 sheet
will printing out the sentence word by word break up the sentence and affect…?

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