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Month: September 2022

The Installation

The art installation for my CreateSpace Public Art Residency took place over the Culture Days weekend on September 24 and 25, 2022.

I have learned a lot during this residency.

At times, I felt fun and excitement because I got to try new things, such as working with sound and light.

At times, I felt stressed and asked why I wanted to do such a complicated project with so many moving parts. Then I have to remind myself to choose empowering thoughts just like the purpose of this project. Instead of saying “why, this is so hard”, I changed my self-talk to “I am happy that I get to try something new. Just do my best and don’t worry about the results now. Whatever happens, it’s all good. I can do it!”

I tested the installation at my parent’s backyard before the official installation weekend. Originally, I wanted the lights to be on top as if looking at the stars at night. I wasn’t very happy with the result so after having dinner I played with other ideas and options. You can see a glimpse of the inside (picture below) but stay tuned for a video of the installation.

There are a lot of improvisations along the way. My original idea of hanging the ribbons at the site of the installation didn’t work because the trees there were huge with no branches low enough for anyone to reach. We ended up hanging the ribbons around the installation and around the white tent for the art activities.

On the second day, we tied a yarn from the installation to the activity tent so people can hang the ribbons themselves.

We also decided to put chairs inside the installation for people to hear the audios. The site I’ve chosen was very important to the installation so I decided to put some chairs outside the exit to let people know that I want them to feel the difference between the noisy mind chatter (the installation) with the spaciousness and quietness of nature.

I am so happy to see and hear people enjoying this project. At first we were a bit worried that kids would be afraid of the fear-based thoughts but I saw children playing and laughing inside the installation as if it were a maze.

I also saw children playing with and chasing the ribbons flying in the wind.

A young woman told me she needed this as she was currently facing a problem.

A young man said he didn’t know what he wanted and sat there pondering this question before writing on his ribbon.

At the end of the first day, I counted 99 ribbons. At the end of the second day, we moved all the ribbons to the “wishing trees” where they are going to stay for about a month. Then I am going to weave them into a “Tapestry of Hope.”

I am so happy that I get to do this project. Isn’t life just like this? We have an idea and we work on making it a reality. We don’t know what we will get at the end. There are many twists and turns and lots of improvisations along the way. At the end if we get to share what’s meaningful to us with people and touch someone in a positive way, isn’t it all worth it?

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Thank you for the audio recordings

Thank you to all the brave people for sending me audio recordings of their fears and/or worries!

***(Please see how you can experience this art installation here.)

I am surprised by how many people said similar or exactly the same things!

I also think and feel a lot of the things people are saying on these audio recordings. I am also learning about some of my hidden worries and fears!

Although the purpose of my project is to become more aware of our thoughts and to pivot them into more constructive ways of thinking, I now hope people experiencing this art installation will realize that you are not alone! You are not the only one who feels this way. It also made me question where did we get those thoughts and believes from? Are we all brainwashed by mass media? Our society?

I tried to get recordings from a diverse group of people, from different age groups, genders and cultural backgrounds with different languages spoken at home (see the list of languages I have below). Shouldn’t I get a wide array of different fears and worries as we have different life experience? It’s probably not diverse enough but still, why do I keep getting the same fears and worries? Who’s been feeding us these disempowering thoughts?

For example: I was having tea time with other moms, one of them said she felt guilty for leaving the kids to her husband for a couple of hours. Why do women feel guilty when they spend time for themselves? Why do women feel like they have to do everything, take care of the kids and build their careers?

Another mom said she’s afraid any wrong words and/or actions will negatively impact her children’s life forever. She’s one of the most loving moms I know and why does she feel this pressure to be perfect? I know for sure she’s not alone in feeling this way.

As I am working on this project, I am reading Matthieu Ricard’s A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill: Happiness.

In this book, he said we spent time on getting a degree, building a career, raising a family, exercising our bodies but we don’t spend time on developing the skill of being happy.

It starts with going inward, becoming aware of our thoughts and managing those thoughts: knowing which ones lead to pain and which ones contribute to well-being.

Matthieu Ricard is a genetic scientist turned Buddhist monk. I like how he references scientific studies like an actual scientist. And scientists believe positive thoughts have an evolutionary advantage because they help us “build resilience and influence the ways people cope with adversity.”

I made a booklet that explains the project to people. I was planning to hand them out during BC Culture Days but it took me seven minutes to print, fold and staple each booklet. I’ve since then made my booklet into a single sheet (double-sided) that you can read below or download here (Chinese version 中文版):

Here is a list of the languages I have in the audio recordings so far:
















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