“Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.” -Oscar Wilde
We live in the world. And the world is filled with people, all with different needs and different desires. The way we live, the choices we make, do not affect us and us alone. Our actions have consequences sometimes far outside what we can immediately witness. Despite our human tendency to consider some as superior to others, in fact, we are all the same. We are all of one species, each with the same limited lifespan and biological need. While one may have more and another less, neither, in the larger picture, has objective rule over the other. The hierarchies we create are simply that, created. Subjective ways for some to exert their needs and wants while others pay the consequence.
Annie Jael Kwan spoke to us from Singapore. In 2020, she was in Japan for research when the pandemic hit and was unable to leave for some time. All along she was intending to stop in Singapore on her way back from Japan to her home in the U.K. When she was eventually able to leave Japan in July she traveled to Singapore only to become stuck there when the U.K. went into lockdown. Since 2018, Kwan has worked on a project called Asia Art Activism. This complex and diverse work brings more visibility to all parts of Asia and, in the words of the artist, “complicates the idea of Asia.” The project is a growing collaboration with about 100 contributors at this time. To hear more about this work and more, listen to the complete interview.
Sopheap Pich lives and works in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. We spoke on April 14 when he reported that after a year of decent management of the pandemic, a small number of people emerged from a hotel while infected with COVID and quickly spread the disease across the entire country. This sudden spike is quickly becoming very scary for Pich and his studio staff of 13. When we spoke he was considering building extra beds for his staff to use should they no longer be able to travel to and from their homes across the city. Most recently, Pich and his staff have just finished a sculpture of a Kapok fruit for a local group show. For 30 years, the artist has been fascinated by the shape of boats but has never known what to do with this interest. Building this fruit sculpture allowed him to turn this shape into a reality. To hear more, including what Pich has been working on since the beginning of the pandemic and how dead trees have factored into his work, listen to the complete interview.
A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:
Bear in mind you belong to a species living on a finite planet. Act accordingly.
Interviews are available on iTunes as podcasts, and for Android please click here. All weekly essay pieces in a shareable format are here. The full archive of interviews here.
Books to Read
What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. Annie Jael Kwan is reading On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong. Sopheap Pich discussed The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho
Sculptural artists are invited to submit their work for consideration for Resiliency Flows, an exhibit along the Mississippi River in the port of Dubuque, Iowa. Up to ten sculptures will be selected for this highly visible exhibition. Work should speak to overcoming the impacts of COVID-19 or issues of social justice. In addition to cash awards for the exhibition itself, selected artists will receive an honorarium of $1800. For more information, visit the website. Deadline for submissions is May 24.
Brainard Carey is an author, artist and educator. He is the director of Praxis Center for Aesthetics. He has written six books for artists; Making it in the Art World, New Markets for Artists, The Art World Demystified, Fund Your Dreams Like a Creative Genius, Sell Online Like a Creative Genius, and Succeed with Social Media Like a Creative Genius. His forthcoming book, Making it in the Art World, is available for pre-order with bonus content here.