(Back again stateside, this week’s been full of cooking, more than all last year: crab and steamed fish and bountiful Chinese vegetables.)
This summer I was in the city of my childhood for almost three weeks, sweating in all ways: slowly, immediately, consistently. I wasn’t sure how to feel, which is rather normal for me, but still dislocating. It was familiar and unfamiliar in a way that was different than when I was here in 2010-2011. Same things in my heart: my green hills, walking alone with my thoughts, nightly fishermen, closeness to family. But nothing was new or startling this time, and I almost grew impatient with my aloneness. Still: visits with my grandfather, listening to him talk about his life after “Liberation”; an afternoon exploring the multifold levels and alleys hidden and winding beyond the Escalator; a ride on the ding-ding che to the end of the line, just to see; morning hike through the hills of southern Lantau island amidst all its subtropical folds and thriving insect life (there were spiders as big as my face); local news on TV and lawyers debating over the “white paper”; July 1, which is always a swell of emotion and complexity; ferry to the smallest island because I hadn’t yet been there; my favorite nighttime path by the water in Tung Chung; the sky darkening and lightening with fickle rainfall…
NY: water towers, yellow peril, and some loves
Last week in New York was mostly wandering around neighborhoods, admiring the water towers, but one of the nights I attended a talk by John Tchen on "Yellow Peril." Some notes:
Yellow danger, yellow claw, disembodied hands, the grotesque
Racial attitudes are shaped by political anxieties: Melanie Klein’s theory of projection and paranoia: the Other is constructed to externalize social instability and conflict
Theory of Racial Triangulation: Y-axis is Inferior—Superior, X-axis is Outsider—Insider, and the outer boundary is “white”
The real danger of the 1882 Exclusion Act was in the idea that “American" means "white"
What are the implications for the discourse surrounding “model minority” and “honorary whites”? Besides being patronizing and hierarchical, besides the subtext of “white” as a standard for “good,” G wanted to know how this discourse participates in erasure, renders invisible the Other. It makes me recall the complexity of visible/invisible and why the term “colorblind” (as in, “post-racial”) has always made me anxious.
Other NY discoveries: Tenement Museum (my favorite wandering this trip), Hayden Planetarium (I almost cried…though I wish planetariums would conclude with an astronomer pointing out constellations on the ceiling, like when I was a child), and the most delicious yuba soba noodles.
Lastly: Hiroshi Sugimoto, because who doesn’t love dioramas. Also just now realized he is on the cover of a favorite book (An Elemental Thing, Eliot Weinberger).
25 years ago
(Remembering our autumn week in Paris, 2011. Every hour of the day felt like the hour before evening.)
(image+text, layers/filters/translations, terrain of the ocean, record/document, measurement through indirect means.)
nu wa: the flood / from “letters to mao”
"Your primary mode of living is focused internally, where you take things in primarily via intuition. Your secondary mode is external, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit with your personal value system.
They live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities
They place great importance on havings things orderly and systematic in their outer world
On the other hand, they operate within themselves on an intuitive basis which is entirely spontaneous. They know things intuitively, without being able to pinpoint why, and without detailed knowledge of the subject at hand.
This is something of a conflict between the inner and outer worlds, and may result in…not being as organized…
They are protective of their inner selves, sharing only what they choose to share when they choose to share it. They hold back part of themselves, and can be secretive.
They are very sensitive to conflict, and cannot tolerate it very well. Situations which are charged with conflict may drive them into a state of agitation or charged anger. They may tend to internalize conflict into their bodies.”