Yao Qingmei, Sanzu Ding and its patterns 2 — Hypotheses on the origin of the hammer-sickle sign: Shamanism, Video, Color, Sound, 11’50”, 2013–present

In 2013, during the construction operation in Longmen county of Yangshao area, Henan, workers unexpectedly discovered a red pottery tripod (“ding”). The vortex pattern on the vessel bears similarity with the modern “hammer and sickle” motif used to represent New China. According to the C-14 dating, the tripod excavated in Longmen has a five-thousand-year history. Chinese archaeologists have named its mysterious pattern the “hammer and sickle”. On the basis of archaeology, anthropology, psychoanalysis, semantics, semiotics and mythology, Professor Yao focuses her research on the origin and development of the “hammer and sickle” motif, concerning which she proposes six hypotheses with scientific significance.

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Chen Dandizi, I’m Awake Tonight, 2021, Two-channel video, color, sound 3’19”

Once I saw this video on YouTube, a compilation of moments of capture in
animal hunts from the North American Hunting Association. With the hunter’s gun locked in place, the animals were cursed and unable to escape. The second before being shot, their eyes look confused and fearful, stared straight in the direction of humans, and then all fell to the ground with a thud. I felt confused and vulnerable by this violent energy, as a user commented under the video: The most dangerous animal in the world.
Although hunting is ancient and primitive, I felt uncomfortable revisiting a killing “spree” in such an intense and unequal way. In another sense, it resonates with the human pleasure of pursuing absolute power. Therefore, I took this video of the hunt and juxtaposed it with another
video. I banged out some negative words on a brass plate and tuned up the metal clanging sound to echo the sound of the gunshots in the former video. On the screen, a blinking of huge eyes shows startling unease from hearing loud noises. It looks directly into the camera lens, making it impossible to avoid, with which to provoke the viewer’s fearful association
with other related matters.

Wang Xu , Garden of Seasons, 2019, Two-channel video, color, sound 33’16” , Untitled Athena, 2021, marble, 53×26×24 cm

Heritage Falls Park, located in the Monterey Park near the Vincent Price Art Museum, consists of a grassy hillside bisected by a tiered fountain with a niche to the end. It was built in the late 1920s by a real-estate developer named Peter N. Snyder, who originally installed in the niche a marble sculpture of a female figure that he referred to as “Athena” in honor of his Greek heritage. The sculpture mysteriously disappeared shortly after it was installed, and the fountain sat empty until 2005, when the Monterey Park Historical Society installed another “Athena” as replacement. Neither the original sculpture nor its replacement bears any of the formal signifiers commonly associated with the Greek goddess Athena.
In 2016, artist Wang Xu granted Equitable Vitrines the permission to use his sculpture Eve (2015) in a proposal for an intervention at the Heritage Falls Park. Wang produced Eve at a marble quarry and commercial sculpture factory in Quyang, China by recovering a damaged statue of the Biblical figure and re-carving it according to the image of a woman who worked at the factory. The proposal would have temporarily placed Eve in the fountain alongside the replaced Athena, which was also imported from Quyang. Equitable Vitrines rescinded its proposal at the conclusion of a debate over the project at a meeting of the Monterey Park City Council in 2017.
Wang Xu’s Garden of Seasons features a marble sculpture, Untitled Athena, and a two-channel video, “Garden of Seasons” that combines footages recording the process of making the Athena sculpture, and the video clips of the city council debating on the destiny of the sculpture, Eve. Through language, the meaning of art becomes abstract.

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