The bamboo lamp art installation entitled “Bamboo Star” is a temporary installation specially created for the “Haystack Tribes Art Fair” held by Donghu Shan Art Museum in Xianglushan Village, Huangmei County, Hubei Province. It is a luminal art installation assembled from ready-mades and inspired by an article of daily use used by local villagers to wash vegetables: this implement is handcrafted with local material—bamboo. The author hopes to use such a daily implement, which intrigues non-locals yet makes locals feel familiar, to reflect the rural culture of local villagers, namely, using locally available materials and adopting to local conditions, and hence rebuild the relationship between people and the relationship between people and the environment while presenting the poetic and picturesque splendor of Huangmei Village.
▲俯瞰田野中的竹灯装置 Bamboo lamp installation overlooking a field
▲位于田野中的竹灯装置 Bamboo lamp installation in the field
Located in Dahe Town, Huangmei County, Hubei Province, Xianglushan Village is adjacent to Yong’an Reservoir and is surrounded by mountains. The village has a beautiful natural environment and is scenic itself, so everyone who comes here will be deeply impressed. With the support of the strategy of rural revitalization, the development of Huangmei Village has been put in the fast lane. How to preserve the natural environment of the village in the process of rapid growth is a crucial task faced by all rural developments nowadays. While the bamboo lamps grouped together are like a magnified reed marsh, which allows people to feel the power of nature.
▲水库旁的一棵树 A tree beside the reservoir
▲稻田旁的芦苇荡 Reed marshes beside the paddy field
The bamboo lamp installation uses bamboo baskets, a kind of daily utensil used by local villagers in the past, as the medium to create a public cultural space for communication between people and between people and the environment. The interesting part of the bamboo basket is that it is hard to figure out its usage by its shape, and this can intrigue outsiders. But, every local is very familiar with it, because it is the tool that every local family used to wash potatoes in the past. The method is to put potatoes in a bamboo basket, and then put it into the river with a long bamboo pole. Interestingly, the sharp section of bamboo can peel the potatoes when stirred and cleaned. To the author, it is the curiosity of outsiders and the familiarity of locals that build a communication bridge between people. Besides, favorable local natural environment, ubiquitous bamboos and abundant high-quality water resources can also establish close ties between people and the environment.
Left: Bamboo baskets used for washing potatoes; Right: Master Wu, a local craftsman who participated in the production, told the story between him and bamboo basket.
▲竹灯装置与自然融合 Bamboo lamp installation integrating with nature
▲竹灯装置与农田融合 Bamboo lamp installation integrating with cropland
This used to be an essential article of daily use for every family, but today few people still use it. Now there are more convenient and efficient ways of cleaning, but it has special value and meaning for every aboriginal. When we were creating this work, every villager who saw this bamboo basket seemed as if they had seen a long-lost old friend and told us with great relish the details of their lives in the past. So, the ostensibly empty inside of the container is virtually filled with the memories of those days. In the production process, the author also installed solar LED lights in the bamboo baskets, so the bamboo baskets will be lit when night falls, which can also effectively evoke past memories of good old days.
▲竹灯装置夜景 Night scene of the bamboo lamp installation
Most works of art were placed in a “white box” in the past, just as an artist presents his or her idea in an ideal laboratory, a “germfree” environment. In contrast, the bamboo lamp installation intends to mingle with local place at the very outset. In reality, it is able to manifest its value and significance only when it integrates with local natural and cultural environments at this time, at this moment, and at this place.
The poetic fusion of the work and the night sky will show when people stand here and look up
▲竹灯装置夜景细节 Details of the night scene of the bamboo lamp installation
▲与竹灯装置合影 Photo with bamboo lamp installation
Project name:“Bamboo Star” art installation
Project type:Pabulic Art
Design:Haoshe Space Design
Leader designer:Lu Yang
Design Team:Yi Changwu,Shi Da
Planning team：Donghu Shan Art Museum
Photo credit: Haoshe Space Design
Video credit: Haoshe Space Design
Materials:Bamboo，LED solar lamps