“What you make should be something that hasn’t been made before,” advised artist Xu Bing at a lively lunch with CMP students and FSC fellows last Thursday.  Xu was visiting Harvard to show his film “Dragonfly Eyes” at the Harvard Film Archive and deliver a Kim and Judy Davis Dean’s Lecture in the Arts at Radcliffe Institute.

Xu described his desire to push people’s ways of thinking into a corner – to take things to a logical extreme so that they must question their assumptions. This approach definitely shows in “Dragonfly Eyes” and many of his other fascinating projects, including his wordless “Book from the Ground” which tells an entire story with only emoijis, icons, and punctuation.  Xu said he was interested in the idea of this “new type of pictograph that is emerging globally – something everyone can read.”

Students sought advice on how to approach their own media projects, thoughts about working with found materials, and Xu’s feelings as one who collects things to be the object of contemporary art world collectors. Xu responded with inspiring words and great humor.  Thank you to Radcliffe, Xu Bing, and translator Menglan Chen for making this happen!