Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art. Artworks for The Long March Yan’an Project, fall, 2006

By Chen Shaofeng
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Dan Mills, (Miss) Understanding the Long March, prints, 2004
Combining maps and diagrams, and superimposing images and text onto the maps, the project investigtes the Long March events, its history and legend, andd also ecxplores how we learn, understand, and interpret historic events. It is my attempt to understand and visually interpret The Long March from the perspective of a Westerner. Characters, letters of the alphabet, visual symbols, and diagrams are vehicles we use to record the events of history and tell its story. 

For the reader and viewer, the information is also understood through existing knowledge, cultural understanding, and one’s own ways of comprehending information. For example, when viewing a basic map of your own country, printed in your language, the viewer may subconsciously (or not) fill in information that he/she knowss has been omitted. Print the map in another language, or depict a distant country, and much of the experience disappears. By layering esoteric and ambiguous symbols onto the map, the meaning, and the viewer’s understanding is even less clear. Thus the artist’s take on the Long March alludes to conditionality and subjectivity in the interpretation of history.  

—Dan Mills

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