A Bourgeois Declaration of Freedom

aDecFree-03

Original Chinese Language Article By: Xiong Xin Jun (君熊新)

(Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)

Translator’s Note:  Within China’s Constitution, freedom of thought, freedom of speech and freedom of expression are guaranteed.  As capitalism and imperialism were over-thrown and driven out of China in 1949, these hard-earned Communistic ‘freedoms’ do not include the re-importation of the bourgeois mind-set back into China.  These artists are expressing themselves using the freedoms they possess – but where arrested for damaging property and causing alarm.  The point the artists are making is that the Government of China should change the policy that allows for not only old (and dilapidated) buildings to be replaced, but which also permits the demolishing of ‘new’ buildings to make way for roads, or other such developments.  Occupants are asked to sign a document granting the Government permission to demolish the building and provide a replacement somewhere else.  According to this article, this policy has sometimes caused disharmony amongst the people.  As the artists are advocating ‘individual’ rights over that of ‘collective’ rights, their protest may be considered ‘bourgeois’ in nature.  It is also true that the vast majority of Chinese people support the Government and its developmental plans for China.  This article is from 2010.  ACW (26.11.15)

aArt-chin

This article is about an artistically inspired ‘Declaration of Freedom’ that is centred around the general criticism associated with the enforced real estate re-building projects that clear land by  ‘demolishing’ buildings without any consideration to the outer physical (or inner spiritual) damage this policy inflicts on the people.  This is the use of art as a means of ‘non-violent non-co-operation’ to draw attention to difficulties existing within society regarding the government, real estate, finance, humanitarian concerns, the concept of freedom, and the well-being of vulnerable groups in China.

aArt-Chin-003

This performance art has three levels:

1) The writing of the character for ‘Demolition’ (拆 – Chai) on newly built houses as a means to draw attention to the policy of demolishing buildings. Our artistic protest is designed to encourage awareness and debate amongst the people.  The two aspects of concern are that a) building new houses takes a great amount of valuable national resources, and it is b) paradoxical and illogical to construct and then demolish houses that have only just been developed – a situation that is compounded by the uncertainty and anxiety experienced by the occupants.

2) By writing of the character for ‘Demolition’ (拆 – Chai) on newly built houses we are creating an image burning with meaning (representing displaced people, the violent demolition of homes, and the national politics surrounding the issues associated with construction).  This is performed with a sense of respect for the victims of the demolition, the plight of whom we want to be made known across China.  By throwing red, yellow and blue paint at the character for ‘Demolition’ (拆 – Chai) which has been written on a gray wall, the three artists are expressing a non-violent and non-co-operative protest.  The paint is thrown at the wall haphazardly and its random splatter pattern is symbolic of the free spirit and creative expression of the artists concerned.  The point of this is to demonstrate freedom and the right to express concern.  Freedom of thought and freedom of action combine in a powerful display of positive emotion in the environment.

aArt-Chin-002

3) There are definite humanitarian concerns surrounding the demolition of homes and the relocation of residents to new areas.  Many people do not want to leave their homes and resist the demolition and protest against the relocation. This has led to violent protests which have caused injuries and deaths on both the side of the people and the authorities.  Some people have even set themselves on fire in protest.  This policy of ‘demolition’ causes many issues concerning security.  The artists are using the medium of ‘art’ as a form of cathartic protest where all the angst and frustration can be diverted away from harmful expressions and into a (positive) creativity.  Art is a legitimate vehicle for ‘struggle’ and ‘criticism’.  As the artists were coming to the end of their demonstration, a warrant was issued for their arrest for ‘undermining public security and social harmony’.  The artists were making the point that any form of violence represents ‘non-freedom’, and any form of ‘non-violence’ represents true freedom.  Through this behaviour it is hoped that attention will be drawn to important social issues and changes made for the better as a consequence.

©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2015.

Original Chinese Language Source Article:

http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_60edb2310100kqf5.html

文/熊新君

自由宣言

《自由宣言》是对当今社会拆迁问题的集中批判,是以行为艺术的方式诠释地产开发对于人们的日常生活和精神世界的摧残。艺术家用“非暴力不合作”的方式表达对于社会、政府、地产、金融、人性、自由、弱势群体等问题的思考。

此次行为艺术包含三个层次。

一是,在新建的房子上写上“拆”字,实施此次行为过程,表示对“新房即拆”问题的高度关注和思考。其中涉及两个方面的问题,一方面,很多新建的房子就被拆掉,造成了社会资源的极大浪费;另一方面,很多为了被拆迁而建很多新房的投机行为。这两个方面形成行为表达的第一个悖论。

第二是,在写有白色“拆”字的墙前,焚烧带有象征性极强的图片(如:失去家园的人们、凶暴的拆迁现场,以及泛政治特征的建筑),既有一份对于此类问题毁灭与祭奠的表达,又表现出整个社会对于这类事件的态度。而由三个赤身的艺术家,分别手执红黄蓝三原色的颜料包,奋力砸向写有“拆”字样的灰色墙壁,在颜色击中墙壁的一瞬间,颜色在墙上形成自由的散落,形成最后的效果,表现出艺术家的创作快意和自由的艺术精神。表达出艺术家与众不同的鲜明的  “非暴力”的独立思考和自由批判立场。

第三是,由拆迁问题引起的诸多的社会人权问题、安全问题,最终上升到现如今关于人性的刑事问题(如因暴力拆迁而自焚,安全机构与失去家园人们的暴力对抗,以及在暴力对抗中失去生命的双方个人等)。所以在艺术家用行为艺术的方式表达艺术家对于此类问题的宣泄、抗争与批判的同时;我们在最后的行为录像中,通过艺术的处理手法,加上了这几个艺术家,以犯人的形式,以“破坏公共安全和社会和谐罪”被通缉。用艺术家的自由表达和被通缉作为这次事件的悖论双方同时呈现。表达出艺术家对于社会问题的“非暴力”表达自由和“被暴力”的非自由。

以此行为方式,希望进而能引发社会对于类似问题的关注和思考。

 

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: