Guangzhou-based Hu Fang and Zhang Wei intervene into AAA's library stacks with a selection of books inspired by gardening for 15 Invitations. Beginning in March, visitors can encounter these publications on experimental botany, farming, and gardening philosophy that activate alternative readings of AAA's collection. Reading groups and conversations based on the texts will be hosted in the coming months.
Some of our observations of the human environment…
I am on the plaza of inverted time
seeing myself walking towards this life-changing tipping point:
Once again I squeeze a few books
in the overloaded rucksack
I foresee myself on my future journey
keep leaving books on the road I walked across
Expecting there would be someone picking them up
- In the soon to happen warfare
the existing books seem redundant
I just hope
The ignited thought by the flame of war
Could turn your crystalized existence
into red hot through smithing
and become the red hue of dusk
that humans cannot wipe away
At this moment
I could get my Gardening book
left in the forest
The book of cookery
handed over to humans
The book of geology
returned to the earth
Chantal Wong wrote:
Dear Hu Fang,
Thank you for sending the poem. We think it is a really nice way to inflect on the contents of the books.
Have you heard of the play Arcadia by Thomas Stoppard? It takes place in an English garden that merges classical landscape architecture with elements of the romantic, it crosses past, present and future, and explores knowledge, experience, mathematics and the unpredictable. History repeats itself, and yet new things are found. There is a beautiful dialogue when young Thomasina mourns the destruction of the Alexandria that goes:
Thomasina: Oh Septimus!—can you bear it? All the lost plays of the Athenians! Two hundred at least by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides—thousands of poems—Aristotle's own library . . .
Septimus: We shed as we pick up, like travellers who must carry everything in their arms, and what we let fall will be picked up by those behind. The procession is very long and life is very short. We die on the march. But there is nothing outside the march so nothing can be lost to it . . . Ancient cures for diseases will reveal themselves once more. Mathematical discoveries glimpsed and lost to view will have their time again. You do not suppose, my lady, that if all of Archimedes had been hiding in the great library of Alexandria, we would be at a loss for a corkscrew?