PROJECT 3: VOiCE

From what I mentioned in last project, in this project, I’ll continue digging people’s attitude toward feminist. This time, instead of people who I know them directly, I choose to investigate people who has indirectly connection with me, like friends and relatives of my friends and my family, etc.


Friends and relatives of my friend and my family, 
schoolfellows, classmates, co-workers, even strangers.

After linking people who have a connection with me, I spread a questionnaire via WeChat to collect their attitude towards some social facts and hot topics on feminism to collect their answers. It only takes one minute to finish this small survey and it can collect data on Age, Gender, Geographic location…

And this is a anonymous survey, so I suppose that the results can be relatively objective.

Also, I asked them if they would like to share their stories with me.

By finishing this survey, I successfully found people who are willing to share their stories with me.

A video on how does this questionnaire work on WeChat.

The project is separate into two parts: “monologue” and “conversation”.

And for better understanding, I made a sub for each of them.

MONOLOGUE

#1: Disrespected labor

a old lady (67 years old), talking about her marriage

Unhappy marriage; Cold violence from husband; Bear the stress of childcare alone.

#1: Age Discrimination

A 26-year-old woman talking about her story of forced blind date

Pressure of single; Lack of understanding of friends and family; Age discrimination; 

“older women are devalued”

PROJECT 2 – the VOICE: female in China

What I did & How I feel…

WHY I choose this topic?

This is an ad of a anti-COVID-19 public service TV series. We can see only 3 out of 10 characters are female, but the fact is two thirds of them are female (the data is from Xinhua News).

Gender inequality is not a new topic in China, due to some historical reasons, men and women are not equal. And these inequalities can be found in every aspect of life. In my childhood, the teachers always said: “Although you are doing well in your studies now, once the boys start studying they will immediately overtake you. “; and I was hurt at that time, but for now I know this is just the self-congratulation of a loser. And this is just a tip of the iceberg of discrimination experienced by an ordinary female during her grown up.

I believe that confidence is so important for people, we should all learn to love ourselves first before love others. I didn’t get hurt by my teachers’ words since I love myself and I know what she said is not the truth. However, some girls they don’t know that.

So, for me, as long as you are a female, as long as you suffered the gender inequality, you’re entitled to talk about feminist. No matter what your job is, what your education level is… it really doesn’t matter.

And the photo below is a poster from the last century, the characters below said: New things are coming up, and women can hold up half the sky. I believe this must be the first feminist slogan in China.

And I got my inspiration from lady 张桂梅 (Zhang Guimei).

She built the first free high school for girls, and this school is located in Huaping (which is belonged to Yunnan province, China). It’s a relatively poor area, and the people there that day didn’t realize the importance of education. Some parents didn’t allow their daughters to go to school, Zhang had to visit each of them and convince them to send their daughters to school to get an education. With her effort, 1,600 girls went to university and changed their life.

I was touched by her story, and I began to interested in the current situation of Chinese feminist. Feminist is a hot topic in China right now, but not every single person understand what it really is. And this made me feel that I can do something to change this situation.

This poster is from a feminist web movie called 听见她说, which is the Chinese version of Snatches: Moments from Woman’s Lives (BBC). And is directed by Zhao Wei, a Chinese female director. And this is the first female monologue drama in China, addresses many localized problems faced by Chinese females.

Small Survey

So, in order to better understand the current situation of feminists in China, I decided to do a small survey with people living in the same community. During these days, I was a community volunteer who is helping collect people’s contact data for the COVID-19 test. And I used this opportunity to chat with people and convince them to take part in my small survey.

I designed a questionnaire that can be easily answer by “yes” or “no”, and posted it in a WeChat mini program.

These are the questions in my list.
This chart shows the gender and age group of my research, 36 people in total helped me with my questionnaire.

From this chart we can see most people are from the age below 50, perhaps it’s a little bit difficult for elder people to take part in this WeChat survey.

Actions

Speak out loud on social media: create an online communication group, and till today it has 4,000 members.

Set up a weibo (Twitter in China) account: I named it girls_help_girls_bot

But this account was banned😹, and the guest service said this is because I post offending ads… I have no idea what it is tho.

This is a screenshot of my acc, it said there are unusual behaviors.

This post reached the highest data I’ve ever had, it is about the brands whose customers are mainly female supporting the videosites that insult famale, and this post is to encouraging people stopping using this website.

It has 83,000 comment and 5,4000 repost! I contribute the content to this influencer.

Next Step: the VOICE

I found it’s really important to let your voice be heard. So, I decided to collect feminist voices online and offline, from artistic creation to real life.

  • Girls help girls stories; collected and post in my account
  • The attitude male group towards female group: online comments and from a news program, TV drama, also from interviews.
  • The attitude of the female group towards the female group

If we don’t take actions, the future will never change.

PROJECT 1 – Digging my surrounding with my doggy friend

I can remember clearly, these days I was quarantined in my apartment with my parents, since there is a COVID-19 wave in my city, and all the people suffered.

The blue dot is me, and all the red dots are COVID-19 cases. In these days, schools are closed and people don’t need to go to work, instead, everyone just work from home. You can tell the cases are quite close to me and my mother needed to go out for work even under this situation, which makes my father and I worried so much.

And since I was forced to stay at home for almost a month (actually even longer), lots of stress built up in my body… And the quarantine life made me start wondering about the relationship between humans and nature.

This is a photo of the enshrines of our community, all the people living in my community are not allowed to leave here, and there were small retailers selling daily necessities and food there.

Since I was so boring these days, I began to take a walk downstairs every morning, it was not surprising that many people feel the same and decide to walk downstairs, we all tried to release the pressure. And this actually worked. Each time when people saying hello to me, I did feel better. By the conversation that took place between us I can feel that I’m not the only person in the world, there were still people around me! This is very important to me, cause it makes me feel that I still got connections to the real world, and this is a feeling that online communication can not provide me.

And this is the day I met 笨笨 (BenBen), a three-year old Giant Poodle.

This is a photo of BenBen, I took it while the first time I took her for a walk.

BenBen is such a friendly lady, when we first met, I saw her owner took her in the elevator, and I was shocked caused BenBen is too big in size (also I’m a little afraid of dogs), I guess I’m not very kind and might be a little rude in my voice, but BenBen just sniffed my ankle and gently walked away. After that, I feel she is so different and unique.

Actually, during these days, I’m not always in a good mood. First, I don’t know how long do I need to stay home and how many COVID-19 tests do I have to take; also, I’m worried about my parents cause they have to go out for work and this is quite dangerous at that time. So, I decide to spend more time with animals and plants rather than people ( cause some time people around your can deliver their anxiety to you).

Due to all the reasons above, I choose BenBen, I decided to make friend with her, and I was planning to learn how to see the world from her point of view. Also, see how different can it be.

So, I got the idea of recording BenBen’s bark. I believe that understanding her language can help me know her better.

This is the voice of BenBen when she feel very comfortable and relax.
This is the voice of BenBen when she reacting to her friend’s bark.
This is the voice of BenBen when she reacts to strangers staying at her door for a long time.
This is the voice BenBen react to herself, very funny!
This is the voice of BenBen when we left her alone and pretend we forgot her.

It took me a long time for recording her voice, cause BenBen is a quiet lady and almost never bark at people. So, when I talking to her and try to collect her voices, she always looking at me with a puzzled face. (Just like the photo below:) )

BenBen with her puzzled face.

And during my observation, I was touched by BenBen. Because there are a lot of naughty children in our community, and some times they would play a trick on her… I would say if I was BenBen I will be really mad at those children, but BenBen never does. She’s always very kind and never angry. What a lovely dog!

By analyzing BenBen’s voices above, I can tell that BenBen must be grown up in love and care, cause the environment can’t affect her too much, and she’s always nice to people, kind and very polite. The funny part is the one she reacting to herself, it seems like she’ not that satisfy with her voice lol.

And it’s very interesting for me to have a chance to learn her barks, it’s totally different from people, much more innocent and lovely, with a pure heart.

Action #10

For all previous actions, I mainly focus on my personal issues or people around me, so for this time, it’s time for me to get out from me and my friend-zone.

This is a photo I took when I travelled to Shanghai Disneyland last year, you can see the garbage all over the ground. I think the main reason for people littering is that Shanghai Disneyland is not well planned, and if people can easily throw their garbage in the garbage bins, they usually don’t choose to throw it on the ground.

So, I start wondering can I do some to help this. Coincidentally, the company I’m interning at is launching a small program that can be used for this purpose. This small program is inside WeChat, you may know that almost every Chinese has WeChat app on their phone (WeChat is just like Whatsapp and Messager, it almost contains all the functions of Messager and Instagram. And the WeChat small program is similar to a standalone app, but it eliminates the step to download a new app and is very popular in China).

This is what the small program looks like.

This small program is mainly focusing on scenic areas. When people enter the park, they can scan the QRcode to buy e-tickets, foods as well as drinks, and the program may record that they entered, and can record their visiting routine. And we can use the same method to track the wastes.

And this is a small local park as example.

This is a small local park in my city.

This is the simplified map of this park, there’s only four attractions (the red points above) that people may visit. So I put QR code on each of them and waiting at the entrance of this park. Another reason why I choose this park is there is only one entrance, which helps a lot when doing the counting work. At the same time, I marked the existing garbage bin in the park (which are shown as blue points in the picture above).

After finish these preparation, I start doing the counting work. However, Things didn’t go as smoothly as I thought they would. Because I asked people to help me by scanning QR codes, some passersby suspected I was committing fraud. I had to explain over and over again to people trying to enter the park that it was just a school project to collect data for statistical purposes. It’s really tired repeating the explaination time after time, so I wondering is there something can help me get rid of this explanation work.

And I got my inspiration from the surveys that supermarkets send out. Usually, if you agree to fill out a supermarket’s satisfaction survey, they will give you a small gift in return, so that both the supermarket and yourself are satisfied.

In this case I bought some discounted tissues from the supermarket to distribute, and all the people are satified on helping my data-collection work.

After I finish the data-collection, it was shown that most people followed the routine of B, D, C, A. And two of the garbage bins are largely unused. So I talked to the Park Superintendent department my study, they said they will invest my work and if it’s the truth they gonna rearrange the position of the garbage bins.

The project itself is not difficult; the biggest challenge is to get people involved in your project. And I have to say communication is really important, but sometimes some small tricks can help you easier and faster.

Action #9

Remember in Action #6, I tried to dig the potential of plastic in the sustainable perspective. And since the result I found plastic is not very “sustainable”, it reminds of my old friend – wood. No one can deny the environmental friendliness and sustainability of wood as a material.

So, in this action, I’m trying to show the potential of using wood in our daily life.

This is a woodblock that my friend picked up from a mountain (In China, living in the mountains is somewhat strange, but this friend is so rich that she has contracted an entire mountain and has built her family a luxury villa). And she sent the picture for me, we realized that: WOW, the shape really lends itself a coffee table!

So we start on shape it, dig a hole in the middle and sand it (I hate sanding). This is followed by a very long polishing work. In total it takes almost four weeks for us to finish polishing this coffee table. But see the picture below, it worth the time.

The following one is the by-product of making the coffee table, this is a piece of art made of tree bark. As you may have guessed, the bark comes from the stump on top.

This action also follow the “5R” principle in “zero-waste lifestyle”, the material is free, and it almost non-pollution to the environment. It explores the simplest application of wood as a raw material in our daily lives — Small Furniture and Decorative Objects.

Action #8

In this action, I’m continuing my study on “zero-waste lifestyle”, I’ve found it’s not enough just reusing scrap.

The core of “zero-waste lifestyle” actually refers to the various kinds of waste generated in production and life, which can be used as raw materials for other industries and maximize the reuse of domestic waste.

The method is to apply the principle of sustainable development to the management of resources and waste, with the goal of eliminating waste and toxic emissions, reducing the need for resources, and achieving reuse and recycling of resources.

To achieve zero waste, the first step is to update the idea that there is no such thing as useless material in nature and that the only creature that produces waste is human. Meanwhile, it is important to find the added value of garbage, to establish a new concept that garbage is also a resource and a valuable renewable resource, to reduce the generation of garbage through various means, to strengthen the recycling of resources, and ultimately to achieve zero waste.

To achieve this, I start to record my daily-life by making dairy.

I collected waste that I used throughout the day and tried to use them to complete my dairy, including putting together shopping receipts to remind me of my daily purchases and cutting up brown paper bags to use as dairy writing paper.

The left one is an example made of cut shopping bags.

The paper on the left is pieced together from the day’s shopping tickets.

The one on the left has a picture of where I visited the day, I cut it out of a free travel brochure.

This action is more of a self-reflection, reminding myself that I waste more than I think I do by keeping track of my daily consumption. And I found this is a good method to do self-reflection. I never recognize that I waste so much before I start tracking my day. By keeping a diary in this way, I have better control over my shopping craving, I think twice before I buy things, and I reduce a lot of unnecessary impulse purchases.

And I decided to post on my social media in a monthly basis, trying to encourage more people.

Action #7

“Reuse”: Making full use of the resources available around me to solve problems

Since I mentioned “sustainable” in my last action, for this one, I’ trying to learn from the idea “zero-waste lifestyle”.

This is a way of life that allows you to generate as little waste as possible! And there is a “5R” policy for the zero-waste lifestyle.

It just so happens that my keyboard is broken, and I thought maybe I could fix the problem myself rather than replace it with a new one…

A short slow-motion on how I “reuse” my old keyboards.

I need to thank my mom for her generous support: a rich resource of old keyboards! Without these I may not be able to make it. And I found that repairing some broken equipment myself wasn’t as complicated as I thought it would be. And the whole process was surprisingly fun, which made me feel the joy of DIY that I hadn’t experienced in a long time.

Action #6

Since this action we can explore some context that interests us and dig deeper on it.

For my part, I’d like to explore the potential of plastics in the sustainable sector. So I called one of my friend to share the workload with me and prepared the most “sustainable ” plastic material I can ever found.

I got the second-hand chair from the recycle centre in my community, someone drops it there and I took it home, trying to give it a second life. And the plant-based glue is obtained from the plant beans, the main component is galactomannan, as well as protein, cellulose, water and a small amount of calcium, magnesium and other inorganic elements. The foam balls I bought is made of recycled plastic, it’s much more “sustainable”, and it is said to reduce the pressure of degradation.

A short video on how I made the foam ball chair, and thanks to my friend helping me finish this.

So the question comes: Is this really sustainable?

I’m afraid it’s not really “sustainable”, but I made this just since I want to give off an idea that there is the better solution to use the plastics rather than just collected them to the degradation centre.

Plastic degradation is a lengthy process and is difficult to achieve completely, and even if genetically engineered bacteria could be used to produce fully biodegradable plastics, the cost would still be high.

It is for this reason that the recycling of waste plastics has been commonly used by modern chemical companies. Waste plastics are screened and sorted manually, then crushed, granulated, and modified to become a variety of transparent and opaque plastic pellets, which are then sorted according to their appearance and finally become reusable recycled materials.

Action #11

One more!

Take your time to consider how you might use this last action…..

How might you use it to carry you toward the spring term?
How might you find a way to carry this studio community through the break?
or…ignore these prompts and do what you feel is appropriate

This year is a really tough year for most of the people in this world, we suffered a lot, and hopefully next year things can be better, people can get outside, the virus can be controlled.

If winter comes, can spring be far behind?

For the spring term, the very first thing is I hope I can fly to Vancouver and attend class during normal hours…I really want to get rid of staying up late till 3am! But the news said foreigners are not allowed to enter Canada till January 21st, and the situation in BC is quite serious in BC, so I hope people are safe.

Internet is always the best solution under this condition!

This is a Chinese character “人”, which means “human being”.

When I traveled to Qinghai Lake, the scenery there is very beautiful, blue sky with white cloud, and the water is crystal clear, gently flow on the ground. I began to feel that people are very small, and it reminds me back to a classical literary I learnt in my high-school:

“寄蜉蝣于天地,渺沧海之一粟。哀吾生之须臾,羡长江之无穷。挟飞仙以遨游,抱明月而长终。知不可乎骤得,托遗响于悲风。” —-苏轼 《赤壁赋》

So I made this model with wood and straw with some rags, it is the shape of “人”, and I hope we can all be stronger, be positive to say hello to the coming 2021. Everything gonna be better!

It tooks me 1 hour and a half to make this wood-man, and after taking this picture I was asked to clean this up by the scenic staff lol.

Action #5

Transcending the Limits of the Real

Video Sketching

Evolve some of your actions using video format (See ‘About Video Sketching’ handout)
Using the capacities of this medium produce two (2) low-fidelity, 45-70 second videos envisioning possibilities that spring from your Actions so far.

As mentioned in Action 4, I’m very funding of using apple to refer to something. ‘Eat an apple’ is more like consuming the energy that our mother planet provided to us. So the way of eating apple is really important if we do want to reduce pollution and make the society sustainable.