Experimental visual artist and Bend resident, Aaron Lish, explores how we interact with our environment in his recent project, "Qu Shui Liu Shang (Good Vibrations)." The project is featured in a forthcoming book published by the United Nations about their decade-long "Water for Life" campaign (2005-2015). The campaign sought to promote awareness of water and sanitation issues around the world by using participation in the campaign to reach a diverse audience.
Lish learned about the project during his artist-in-residency at Shayouko Village, north of Beijing. While researching the village's history, he learned that the area currently experiencing regular water shortages was once known for its agriculture. Lish decided that during his stay in the Changping District, he would create a new water project, inviting both the villagers and the water to participate.
He asked elderly members of the village to share happy memories they had about the foul-smelling pond that had once been a healthy river. Villagers gathered at the polluted pond and told their stories amid the last remains of the river. Then everyone, including the pond, shared a sip of "biju," in reference to the ancient Chinese water celebration,"Qu Shui Liu Shang."
Lish recorded the stories and later used them to digitally create visual representations of the villagers' happy memories. Inspired by "bokashi," the background color fade found in traditional Japanese prints, which creates space between heaven and earth for a story to unfold, he used the wave-form images from the recordings to symbolize reflected skylines. The result is water and sky coming together, with a reflected skyline created by each happy memory. Lish's work shows how we reflect our environment, and it reflects us, too.
The digitally created images have been made into 35mm slides, viewable through a slide projector. The project will be on display at the Wieden + Kennedy Gallery in Portland this fall (dates TBA).
Wieden + Kennedy
224 NW 13th Ave.
Dates and times TBA