Square Calligraphy Classroom 英文方块字书法入门
1994

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Exhibited: Copenhagen
Materials: Mixed media installation / desk, chair sets, copy and tracing books, brushes, ink, video.

The intention of this installation is to simulate a classroom-like setting in a gallery or museum space. Desks are arranged with small containers of ink, brushes and a copybook with instructions on the basic principles of ''New English Calligraphy,'' a writing system invented and designed by the artist. A video titled ''Elementary Square-Word Calligraphy Instruction,'' is played on a monitor in the exhibition space, capturing the audience's attention and inviting them to participate in the class. Once they are seated at the desks, the audience is instructed to take up their brushes and the lesson in New English Calligraphy begins.

Essentially, New English Calligraphy is a fusion of written English and written Chinese. The letters of an English word are slightly altered and arranged in a square word format so that the word takes on the ostensible form of a Chinese character, yet remains legible to the English reader. As people attempt to recognize and write these words, some of the thinking patterns that have been ingrained in them since they learned to read are challenged. It is the artists' belief that people must have their routine thinking attacked in this way. While undergoing this process of estrangement and re-familiarization with one's written language, the audience is reminded that the sensation of distance between other systems of language and one's own is largely self-induced.