Sunday, February 16, 2014

Blog #2

Camilla Yuan

So this is week 2 of the "Be Green Challenge."  I bought groceries earlier this week and since food is a necessity, I don't think I've broken the rules yet. Because of the amount of school work piling up and the stress of rowing, shopping and buying clothes are the last things that I've been thinking about.

Our discussion in lecture last Wednesday further explained the cycle of the consumerist society and how fragmented this business has become through the years.  I've realized that as a result of our ways to keep wanting to consume and buy things, we've indirectly created a perpetual mess of supply and demand.  We create the demand for things and businesses find ways to supply our demands.  If individuals were to find out about the exploitation exhibited on workers by the businesses, it would take a lot of time in order for individuals to see changes in the industry as a result of their protesting.  As seen from the documentary in class, the immigrant workers protested for about three years before reaching an agreement with the head of Forever 21.  I think it would be difficult to implement change in these kind of systems because a business has become fragmented into many different segments (production, manufacturing, etc), so that it's hard to pin point where the change needs to occur.

In Kieu-linh Caroline Valverde's article, Chau Huynh features an exhibit consisting of seven hand-made quilts and one installiation and in return, she received many negative comments about her pieces, which are deemed controversial.  One of the main arguments in the article explained how one art piece could create many interpretations.  The sentiments surrounding a piece is purely subjective, leaving it up to the audience to decide how they feel about the piece.  Because art is supposed to create a reaction, "art, and places that display art, can shape what is considered acceptable cultural production in a society" (38).  In Huynh's case, she felt that she was creating quilts from stories that she remembered growing up and paid homage to figures in her life.  However, she was criticized for those pieces by the Vietnamese public, even deeming one of her pieces as "purposely trying to defile the South Vietnamese flag" (43).

The same controversial sentiments can be connected to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.  In an effort to commemorate the war, she designed a memorial using black granite and having the overall piece be submerged into the earth as a horizontal plane.  After the memorial was built, many critics felt that the "extreme visual simplicity of Lin's monument made it easy for critics to utilize it in a concurrent debate about the merits of minimalist sculptures as public artworks" ( Many veterans also thought that the mirror-like surface of granite reflected the guilt that the American society had while at war with Vietnam.  The connection between the work of Chau Huynh and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is the idea of artistic perspective--how one interprets things for oneself.  


Valverde, Kieu-Linh Caroline. 2008. "Creating Identity, Defining Culture, and Making History from an Art Exhibit: 'Unfinished Story: A Tribute to My Mothers'." Crossroads 19:2. Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Northern Illinois University.  

Wolfson, Elizabeth. "The 'Black Gash of Shame': Revisiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Controversy." Art 21. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2014.

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