Virtual Connections: Together From a Distance by Everyone
Exhibition Runs: Now – ?
A Visual Poem by Peng Wu
Greeting from China to my dear friends in the U.S.! Thanks to SooVAC for commissioning this online piece! As the world has been watching, China has experienced the most difficult time since I was born. I feel grateful that I have been in China together with my family, my country and people since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. It is a unique history for me to witness closely and learn from. The best and worst part of humanity is demonstrated in the crisis of this scale. While most of my family members survived, my father didn’t due to the late stage cancer.
After the long and dark time of self quarantine lives for 1.3 billion people, the new confirmed cases in my city has been zero for more than two weeks. And spring has finally come to my city. People walked out of their shelter to the streets. Small children and dogs were making joyful noises outside my window. The city came back to life. I started to take photos of flowers with my phone like everyone else. I noticed that just outside my apartment building there are three plants that are also commonly seen in the spring at my Minnesota home. Due to the travel ban I can not return to my MN home. So I videographed these shared plants blooming and thriving in the spring wind. I’d like to give homage to the ancient japanese poem: “Mountains and valleys are apart, Wind and moon share one sky”. ”山川异域，风月同天。“ Two month ago these two sentences of the poem appeared on the shipping boxes of face masks. They are donated by Japanese people to China hospitals that are in great shortage of medical consumables. The story of the poem can be traced to more than a thousand years ago in Tang Dynasty. The poem was emborioried on one thousand monk robes as gifts from Japan to ancient China. The Buddhism master Jianzhen 鉴真 was so touched by the poem that he was determined to make the life risking journey to bring Buddhism to Japan. His Buddhism teachings are still remembered and appreciated by Japanese people today after more than a thousand years later. And now a billion of Chinese people read the story from the news and are so grateful to the kindness of Japanese. The last two sentences in the poem are less known: To the followers of Buddha, karma will connect us one day. 寄诸佛子，共结来缘。
Peng Wu is a design activist and an interdisciplinary artist dedicated to creating socially engaged art in public space. His work combines the power of design thinking with contemporary art strategies to address various urgent social issues including immigration, modern medicine and health, environmental sustainability. 2019-2020, he is involved in designing the Second National Symposium of Habitability to investigate what makes a place feel like home - in a different country or on a different planet. He holds two master’s degrees in product design and sculpture and bachelor's degree in physics. He co-founded CarryOn Homes - the artists collective investigating the experience of global migration. Since 2017, CarryOn Homes has created large public art commission through Creative City Challenge program, and in close collaboration with Minneapolis Institute of Art, Walker Art Center, Weisman Art Museum for various projects.
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