Questions, Land-Soil: Xu Tan in converstation with Hu Fang

Vitamin Creative Space, 4:30 pm, 21st December, 2013

In the past six months Xu Tan has been undergoing his “Questions: Land-Soil” research, would there be any particular delighting moment he had came across? Would the thought triggered by the situation expand our imaginative spectrum, open up an alternative way of approach toward our living space and our living condition?

In the forthcoming conversation with Hu Fang, Xu Tan would like to kindly invite you all to share his art-working experience, an experience that the representation and the research process are intrinsically related, as well as the “view”, the “conscious” and the relational synchronicity of our cognition the generated from the practice.

There is a stress of emphasis on the labour value in the Chinese narratives. Two keywords I have discovered (get know of) during my research process of “Questions: land -soil” ? “ngaai (捱)”- freedom.

In cantonese, it’s “ngaai”; while in Mandarin it’s “ao”, an implication of long term persistence.

It’s rooted in our culture that there is no absolute freedom; you could only liberate yourself through a form of persistence, an economical form of exchange. This constantly come into my mind from time to time throughout my agricultural research.

Also, how should we consider the land we land on? In our investigation, land, has become our target of exploitation. We unpretentiously exploit and “utilise”/ maximise the economical value of land, however, people who practice so treat their family and people they value differently.

Take care of, make use of, taking care of and making use of. Inevitably we need to take these two approach into consideration whenever we encountering with the “others”. I doubt if there is a clear cut between two, or could we do both at the same time?

I could not manage to find a single, precise word to describe this form of state. Temporary I have adapted “concern”, in another word, “sik1 (惜)” and “sek3 (锡)“ in Cantonese to describe this ambiguous reaction towards the “others” . They share the same Chinese character but vary in Cantonese pronunciation in application, depend on the context. It somewhere sits between “love” and “caring”, which is more closer to my own interpretation.

 - Quote from Xutan’s field trip work log