CFP: Posthuman Chinese Forum
Description: This title should be read from right to left, one character after another. It means Post (super) (first two characters) Human (third and fourth characters) China (fifth and sixth) Forum (last two characters). The very tiny marks in the bottom lefthand corner are my personal name marker. It was carved into a stone, onto which I then put on a bit paint and pushed onto the paper to leave a signature. I used "super human" instead of "post human" because not only do they have similar meanings, but “super” more accurately articulates my beliefs about this topic. A “posthuman” era, to me, would be the time of the cyborg, enabling humans to improve at certain skills, and potentially even master the word “perfection” one day. Lastly, the types of calligraphy I use are cursive and regular. The speed with which technological advances are made could only be captured by the essence of cursive calligraphy. Additionally, Posthumanism covers a wide breadth of topics and generates many skeptics and critics, so it is also a subject of carefulness, hence why the regular type is also used.
Artist: Frances (Yifan) Zhang
Bio: My name is Frances (Yifan) Zhang, a student majoring in Psychology at New York University. I started my journey with calligraphy at age five and have continued ever since. I founded the first Chinese Calligraphy Club at Ulink College of Shanghai and lead a team of 60 calligraphy lovers to create our own artworks. We also organized fundraisers by selling our artworks. As a fan of Western culture, and by spending more time in the United States, the overwhelming nature of assimilation threatened to wash away what I was inherited with. But whenever I am holding my brush and facing that thin slice of white paper, I start to find the feeling of home and pride.
Surprisingly, I am also a great fan of hip-hop music and produce hip-hop music beats in my free time. Hip-hop music and calligraphy can be viewed as being on opposite ends of a spectrum, with one so vibrant and the other very peaceful. But I find a balance, a grey area to hold both properties within me. They say fire and water cannot mix, but I find the differences more meaningful when they encounter each other, whether it be two completely different cultures, races, hobbies, attitudes, or even living things and robots; I find such encounters very beautiful.
I am also the creator of the logo for the Posthuman Chinese Forum.
My experience when creating them: The artworks were created with the aid of technology since I was playing background music from my phone at the time. My lamplight was on to assist me seeing things more clearly. Even the final presentation of all these artworks required technology because I took their pictures on my phone, scanned them, edited them, and finally presented them on a digital platform. Needless to say, technology was present in the creation of my artworks, which represent the sense of ancient China. I think calligraphy work is in essence a great fit for Posthumanism. When we combine the human now with the human from the past, we see the evolution of our current calligraphy styles. Then, when we move forward into the future, our calligraphy works pave the way for future developments.
My creation process is very spontaneous. I let the brush guide me rather than organize everything beforehand. I respect the brush, paper, and ink. The feeling of nature guiding me into the future is the key of all the calligraphy artworks I have created.
Posthumanism is indeed a very complicated topic that is not understood by, or even widely available to, the public in China. But calligraphy, an artform which already has centuries of history, has been well understood by the Chinese public, including myself. The free flow of pace through these artworks has always been the origin of calligraphy creations. It is more than a human taking control of the brush, and is instead about using the brush as an innovation while creating artworks.