Jim: But the minutiae of their behavior you can't control. They're live animals, and they're not going to adhere to your set principles.
And when Aditi looks over and here comes a locust, the whole panopticon reference is subverted by the jailbreak. The idea that we're looking in on this contained world is subverted by those accidents, which seems very much in keeping with his aesthetic, of introducing randomness and so forth. I mean, maybe they drilled a little hole in the cage.
Mingjen: I come in from the direction that I'm not familiar with contemporary art. I didn't know about Marcel Duchamp until I came to this exhibit. I'm one of those people that goes to a contemporary art museum, and some of it I would appreciate, and some of it I would have that classic reaction--Oh, I could do that. But this one, I just completely fell in love with it.
He said that when he was in China, he had aspirations to learn more about Western art but when he was in the West now, he's more interested in Chinese traditions and philosophy. I'm the same way. When I was growing up in Hong Kong, I heard about Chinese in America, and I was really surprised by how conservative the Chinese in America are--they observe more of the Chinese traditions than people in Hong Kong at the time. People who live with tradition on a day-to-day basis don't really think about following it, but in America, it's more important for Chinese to observe traditions.
Aditi: Did anyone else have a favorite piece?
Jim: No, but I don't have a favorite anything. I don't like superlatives.
Dylan: You're the best guy for that.
Aditi: I had a piece that gave me the shivers. It was the one with the manuscript pages going through the wall [Manuscript Goes Through the Wall]. Maybe it's because I'm a writer and the printed word and paper means so much to me, but I loved the fact that I could think about what was on the other side of the wall.
Jim: It created tension, because there's text on the other side of that wall, but you can't get to it. There's a theme emerging, partly connecting to the insects getting loose: What happens in the other world? What happens in that area that you don't know about? Especially if you consider all knowledge is fragmentary. He plays with that beautifully throughout.
Aditi: And I want to think something I wrote would go through a wall.