Discarded: Conversation

    glass bottles
    Wooden box with glass bottles

    Discarded: Conversation, 2000-present

    Wood, glass bottles, calligraphy on paper

    51.4 x 42 x 35.6 cm

    I began this work in 2000 and over many years collected old bottles and filled them with
    coiled scrolls of paper recording phrases people said to me at different times in my life.
    Writing each out in calligraphic script, I came to see them as transformed into an appealing
    aesthetic object. Over time, my desire to fill all the bottles and get closer to “completing” the
    work helped change my relationship to things people said that, in other contexts, I had
    found challenging, hurtful, mean, rude and hard to shake off. Each scroll is signed with a
    red-ink stamp, an impression of my name from a seal I acquired in Beijing. I exhibited this
    work first in 2005 and again in 2016 in near “complete” form, each time offering viewers a
    copy of all the phrases that they can take away with them. Some interpret the entire text as
    a form of concrete poetry. I include a sample of the over seventy phrases.

    Text on scrolls includes:

    Itsy Bitsy Spider…/It’s all your fault!/Do you know the story of the little girl who cried
    wolf?/I am very disappointed in you./Put on some lipstick./What are you doing here?
    Put it in your mouth and suck it/Quack, quack. Hey duck feet./Take off your underwear
    too./I’m going to catch you./Don’t be so sensitive./I’m going to keep track of the number of
    questions you ask./I’m sorry that you feel that way./I’m going to pull your pompom
    off./Come in here.