What Kinds Of Times Are These, When To Talk About Trees Is Almost A Crime, 2021

11 poems written and smuggled from deprivation of liberty, translated into English versions from their original bilingual languages, engraved on 22 press-ready lithographic limestone slabs - The work captures the impossibilities of clarification, exemplifying the geopolitical power of poetry and translations. In traces of the untranslatable, the text attempts to unveil possible narratives and its implications behind the regime-critical publishing activities and the process of poetry-writing of Gui Minhai.

(Swedish translations and interpretations by artist and writer Xenia Klein.)



This publication is a preliminary attempt to conceptualise the link between political and artistic thinking : how a political crisis spills into the artistic practices, how an artistic practice can have political outcomes, and ultimately how crisis redefines the very realms of politics and aesthetics.

Situating the neoteric political upheavals in Hong Kong (a city living on borrowed time, borrowed space as they say) in a much longer historical stream of colonialism, the book tries to provide on one hand a first-person analysis of how an ambivalent cultural identity came into formation, on the other hand examining from the position of a practising artist on the ambiguity in aesthetics - the essential ambivalence that manifest itself profoundly particularly in installation arts - an ambiguous object living on borrowed time, borrowed space in the realm of arts. I glimpsed in it a possibility in offering an alternative comprehension of our contemporary era, which many have defined as an interregnum (Antonio Gramsci). In such periods, hegemonic order fails to deal with all sort of crises in a promising way, yet a new political paradigm that can sufficiently handle them is not yet invented. This may hint us to a new political paradigm that attempts to deal in an affect-driven way with this world of rambling casualties. Such a politics is based on the recognition and understanding of ourselves and our societies as fundamentally ambivalent, behind every problem there may not lie somewhere a good and neat solution, and we should learn to be more comfortable with a permanent oscillating nature of wisdom.

Artist-Book features | Text in English / 1st Edition of 30 / 140 pages / 135 x 190 mm / Designed by : Studio Janne Beldman / Printed in The Netherlands, April 2021