But instead of being frozen in time, I want to show that “local” and “authentic” food are as much creations of modernity as survivors from before it. Authenticity is therefore a problem, not something we can ever depend on as some kind of naturally occurring category. Tradition is crafted, just as much as modernity is manufactured.
― Richard Wilk, Home Cooking in the Global Village: Caribbean Food from Buccaneers to Ecotourists
Popular culture isn’t a freeze-frame; it is images zapping by in rapid-fire succession, which is why collage is such an effective way of representing contemporary life. The blur between images creates a kind of motion in the mind.
Modern man lives isolated in his artificial environment, not because the artificial is evil as such, but because of his lack of comprehension of the forces which make it work- of the principles which relate his gadgets to the forces of nature, to the universal order. It is not central heating which makes his existence ‘unnatural,’ but his refusal to take an interest in the principles behind it. By being entirely dependent on science, yet closing his mind to it, he leads the life of an urban barbarian.
Can you not see… that fairy tales in their essence are quite solid and straightforward; but that this everlasting fiction about modern life is in its nature essentially incredible? Folk-lore means that the soul is sane, but that the universe is wild and full of marvels. Realism means that the world is dull and full of routine, but that the soul is sick and screaming.
I found the whole modern world talking scientific fatalism; saying that everything is as it must always have been, being unfolded without fault from the beginning. The leaf on the tree is green because it could never have been anything else. Now, the fairy-tale philosopher is glad that the leaf is green precisely because it might have been scarlet. He feels as if it had turned green an instant before he looked at it.
Red (Hong Yi), an innovative artist and architect from Malaysia living in Shanghai, constructs a portrait of Chinese film director Zhang Yimou from socks, bamboo rods, and pins. Cutting through an alley one day, she was struck by the sight of laundry drying on bamboo rods, a old-fashioned image in a city that is ultra modern. Red was inspired, and here is the result. Look at the faces of the people of the neighborhood! This is truly art reaching out.
You can see more of Hong Yi’s art and architecture here.