Dr. Yang Ermin’s "Nature. Environment” Project : Play some different art …on Cars
You can participate in this program wherever you live. we welcome you to be a part of this project of “Nature. Environment ”. You only need to send us your contact information with car model and color. It’s Free of charge. You could be part of this public service project, and the shiny stickers are not damaging of your car!
Since the art project of “Face”, Dr. Yang Ermin launched another borderless art project called “Nature. Environment”. This time it’s on motor vehicles. In the crowded Wangfujing pedestrian street in Beijing, right on the spot he will paste the pre-designed and custom-made film on a volunteer car, the shiny and cool colors melted by the car body which creates instant renewed color and pattern – on one hand, the film with the flames gives the car a sizzling hot look; on the other, the image of moving flame tongues on the car creates a unique image of melted metal which seems too weak to support itself. The cold rationality of industrial civilization is thus shaken and cleared away by the burning flames, which started a mode of self-combustion. This bustling live art performance held in a real life location, in a form of wind and fire, it not only resembling first-hand experience of the world melting (hot) temperature, but also, like a Fēng huǒ tái (beacon tower) sending a warning to the world signaling the message: the crisis of global warming and our mother Earth environment is worsening and it’s real.
▌The Artist’s Vision of the Art Project
Dr. Yang Ermin: «Nature. Environment”
Yang Ermin: To make an art (work) with car is what I wanted to do for many years. About a decade ago, standing in the street in Tokyo (Japan), the flows of cars orderly coming and going, this left me a very deep impression. All these past by, my brain has presented this picture to me, cars as part of our life, it goes to another city, it goes to a village or dessert, doesn't matter where it heads to, the driving process itself is a scene, it’s a visual art media that can achieve high communication.
As an artist, why don't we make something out of it? Just like using canvas, stones, wood and Xuānzhǐ (Chinese rice paper). This idea had since been hovering in my head, of course it was not mature then.
2014, I was in America, TV news, the Internet and many other means of media were reporting on the air pollution in Beijing China. Since the beginning of 1990s, most of the year I lived abroad, although I’d return (to China for visit) each year, I did NOT find the issue of air pollution in Beijing that serious, at least during the days I was back, the air problem could hardly affect me personally. Then in 2014 when all those reports came pouring down, all of a sudden I feared I couldn't come home any more. In that moment the air pollution was so real that they were to erode through their coating of each and every body cell and get to everybody.
50 Degrees of Gray, the whole world looks like this. It’s especially true for developing countries such as India in addition to China, which is the daily status for people there.
The World in conditions of fifty degrees of gray
Human living space was destroyed, thus happiness for mankind was ended.
In 2014, during the Chinese Chūnjié (Chinese Spring Festival), an idea came to me, I wanted to make a project on vehicles, through this modern art project, (I hope to) channel concerns and attention to environment issues, to ignite in-depth thinking and of awareness of shared human future. The idea was like a whim to me, or rather, that in my consciousness it’s always been there fermenting, longer than I realized.
After I had the plan, suddenly a story jumped out of my memory - in the early 1990s, when I was a college student, once we went for fieldwork to Héngshān Mountain （恒山）, by its foot I saw the underground coal bed there were self-burning. Some places were still having smoke going, which gives it an illusion that the whole Héngshān Mountain was burning. This rare nature scene which only existent in book pages to me and now it became real, this gave me a huge shock when I saw it for the first time. This image which was centered on fire, when presented it seemed quite dreamy, which was a perfect fit for my theme, reminding us to think how to respond to this challenge coming from this crisis –filled world when entangled by Zìrán (nature 自然) / Zirán (self-burning自燃) intertwined with senses of pain and pleasure.
Someone has asked using car as a media, is it because it’s the source cause of pollution, it’s the culprit. I do not think so, human activities is indeed the source of polluting of the society, we can’t claim that human invented cars so let’s dump all the blame onto cars, meanwhile cars have brought many possibilities to human life which were originally unavailable to human, adding wings to mankind. So to me, cars are not a negative media, this is also what I wanted to communicate my interpretation of cars to those folks who have a misunderstanding of cars.
▌There are this kind of artists in the world. Their creation differs from other traditional art forms as well as performance art, but in their own way they’re conveying ideas and concepts as they intend, they even call on public eyes to public projects, however these have ended up causing countless disputes.
Yang Ermin: Before launching this art project, I envisioned this – a thousand cities over the world are running my environmental art project, in the streets, in the mountains, over the prairie, and in the deserts. When people see it, they would be surprised, puzzled, or even furious, others would call it fantastic, and believe it’s impossible to go beyond it. No matter how it goes, people might pause to think for a second, what is he really doing? I think many people may figure out what it does, and may bring out a series of thoughts, such as something like :
Melting; the earth warming? this is cool; this is way cool
this is fantastic; this can ward off bad luck; what is this?
This is a mess; This kind of artist should just be taken out
…… The above list may cover only some of the reactions online or among friends.
Some say that this art project breaks the rules of art. Well, shouldn't modern art focus on social issues? Issues such as environment pollution, warfare, natural disasters, science and technology development, etc. I remember going to a concert when I was a Ph.D. student, the professor started to talk about a popular singer. He commented what he sang was nothing, as it went so far beyond the rules of singing. At that moment I thought to myself, he may be creating a new kind of rule.
“Nature. Environment”Project is more like a lasting social campaign advocating environment protection for everybody rather than a performance art project. Creatively, it expands modern performance art into “Art + Behavior + Conception + Environment protection”. Its environment protection philosophy was integrated in the art from, which attracts, organizes and leads social environment protection activity, carrying on, strengthening and promoting the artistic environment protection philosophy.
Art sees no standard step, an artist should just keep on making (art); if we must speak about rules then it should be creating his own rules, other than that it’s following other’s rules. That’s something I really don't want to do. I cannot repeat myself nor can I follow others’way (idea) of making art. Well, this way, maybe you’ll make something new.
Contemporary performance art very often gets criticized, because it’s so different in form from what people are used to see, as pioneering things mean a sense of exploration and uncertainty. The process of being accepted by the popular audience is the process of opinions settling. Or we could put it this way, that in China this settling process is extremely fierce – Western societies tend to welcome new things with applauses even when it’s not perfect or mature; yet Chinese tend to show more appreciation to things that’s in the past and have been accepted, so when new things appear, we see surprises, despises or unaccepting. The public audience tends to think that artists ought to be making familiar things ,or at the least, the art that’s readily acceptable to the wide audience. Yet, this kind of things ( art ), someone has been making it for the past 100 years and have not changed a single bit, what’s the point of keep repeating it for us today? The calling of an artist is in creating, even if we’re not accepted today, we should still keep at it.
Not long ago I saw a news, that a well-known economist claimed in a speech he gave at the Peking University that in modern China during 500 years the Chinese had not made an invention that help improve human civilization - During the last 500 years among 838 key inventions worldwide not one invention came from China.
According to academic statistics provided by Jack Challoner at the British Museum of Science, from the Paleolithic Era (2,5 million years ago) to the year of 2008, there were 1001 key inventions made that have changed the world, among which 30 inventions were made by China, equaling to 3%. Those 30 inventions were all made before 1500 years ago, taking up 18% of 163 key inventions by then worldwide, the last invention was tooth brush invented in 1498, which was the only key invention in the Ming Dynasty. In the 838 key inventions worldwide during the remaining 500 years within the 1500 years, not one came from China.
China’s population is four times that of the United States, 10 times that of Japan, 20 times that of Britain and 165 times that of Switzerland. On the exponential scaling rule of knowledge creation, China should have inventions 5.6 times that in United States, 17.8 times more than that in Japan, 42.3 times that in Britain, and 591 times that in Switzerland. Yet the reality is, during the 500 years contemporary time, in terms of world invention and innovation China has contributed almost zero.
Nowadays China is #1 auto producer in the world. However, if you write a history of automobile technology, you will find over thousands inventors with names, among whom there are German, French British, Italian, American, Belgium, Swedish, Japanese…but you won’t find Chinese!
▌Some said that this art project of mine – in design, involves too broad, which goes against the lonely status of modern art. This is what I say to them: Why should art be lonely? Maybe, since now it moves from being high up and lonely (孤高). There’s a saying of being lonely at the top ( 高处不胜寒), art moving in tune with popular audience, making it hot, to me it’s the best.
Yang Ermin: At the beginning phase of implementation of the borderless art project《Nature. Environment》, for quite a long time I had a headache for each work piece of the actual attaching,
Because each car is independently done by itself, and each car film is different, which is an integrated component of this large art project. I was also thinking, if there should be autograph for each completed car, I’m not sure if I could do that yet.
The huge surface area needed attaching how do we make sure it’s made smooth, what’s more, each car film was completed in house and then shipped to volunteers worldwide, they don't necessarily have experience of attaching films on cars so making it not smooth is … to be expected. This question bothered me, I thought about it as I was walking, driving, sitting in a car, lying on sofa and even lying in bed. Until one day I had a breakthrough, it ought not to be smooth, all of a sudden I felt it should be right to not be smooth, which fits more to the original idea of melting nature, the melting look on top of the uneven wrinkles, then it’s done inside and out. Later on I got easy with it, for the unfit part I would just tear it apart or cut one piece (off another ) and add to wherever it fits most, until I’m satisfied with it.
This solved technical problems for this art project mostly.
“Nature. Environment» Project was first launched in Beijing in 2015, prior to that it was spot-tested in Los Angeles, Paris, Tokyo, Barcelona, Cape Town, Berlin and promoted to other cities. With experience we gain accumulatively, we hope that in the future not too far from now the art project could be offered to other cities in China and even the rest of the world. Regardless of geographical borders, size of city or village, whether remote or not, YOU”RE WELCOME as long as you have a will to join with us, to fight for the SHAERED PUBLIC INTEREST of ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION. Therefore, this project COULD just BE the art project with these descriptors: the longest in standing (possibly infinitively, the most participated (regardless of national borders and ethnicities), with the widest coverage globally (possibly covering globally). As long as environmental destruction acts still exists, as long as human greed still self-combusting, the art project of ”Nature. Environment” will not stop.
◆How to volunteer and get involved:
No matter where you are, as long as you send the information about your vehicle type and its color via e-mail, mail or telephone to the “Nature. Environment” Art Project office (physical mailing address is provided below), the artist will custom design melting effect for your car a set of Peal-and-Paste film and mail to the address you provide. The set of Peal- and-Paste film are gorgeously colorful, they are visually appealing, easy to paste on, and they peel off easily without damaging car paint; this film colors won’t fade for up to one year. All we ask of you is this: after you receive the car film, paste it on your car, take a picture of the finished car and post it onine together with illustration in your mother tongue.
This art project needs support from everybody. We welcome interested car-owners with your loved cars ( as volunteers), translators of international languages, designers, effect producers, and vehicle consultants, automobile producers and more.
◆ Contact us
Address: Chaoyang district, 15 Xia Guang Li, Xiao Yun Center,
Building B, Suite 710, Beijing, China. 100000