January 20, 2009

危机 Weiji notes

The idea of Weiji came from a meeting several people from the University of Minnesota had with faculty from the Beijing Film Academy. The meeting, held in the Department of Art, was called to discuss ideas for upcoming travel, exchanges and exhibitions. We were speaking about the state of the world, how the economic crisis has hit is us all, how the world was changing rapidly and that there were so many things to consider at this time in our lives. We started to talk about times of change and moments when change can occur. We also discussed how that same space near crisis can be a place for innovative ideas. This was when I brought up "Spaces of Hope" a book by David Harvey. He talks about chaos and crisis as the time for innovation and hope. I thought it would be a great idea to use a chinese word for the exhibit title. Professor Cheng Qiang, photography faculty from the Beijing Film Academy and his friend He Huang (aka Derek) said there was a chinese word for that which is 危机 Weiji. The translation is not exactly spaces of hope but through discussion we found that the meaning was similar. The exact translation is crisis = danger + opportunity. We discussed how this translation was a very similar concept to what was written about in the book "Spaces of Hope". During crisis the opportunity for change occurs because we are seeking new ideas rather than going along with the status quo. We all agreed that this would be a timely and thought provoking theme for the exhibits coming up.

Present at this meeting were Professor Tang Meng, Professor Cheng Qiang, He Huang, (and another colleague from China whose name I am looking for) Cheryl Wilgren Clyne, Jim Henkel, Gary Hallman, Tom Rose.

clwc 2009