Dialogues and Definitions, a site-specific installation created for 798 Space in Beijing in February 2004, occupied a 400 square-metre area, and comprised twelve rows of steel table- and shelf- like forms, combined with objects and images presented on or enclosed within wooden boxes. It was assembled and disassembled before the public eye, which shifted the focus from object and product to action and process, linking the event to interactive performance,and thus creating a more immediate relationship between artist and viewer. The project was documented from its inception, as it underwent a series of transformations. This in itself represented a significant conceptual element of the piece, through which I sought to create a visual dialogue between the space and the cultural and historical associations that accompany it; in order to explore the larger issue of the relationship between intellectual constructs and the physical environment, and to initiate a dialogical process which includes visual, conceptual and social dimensions. One of the social implication of such an enterprise is a re-examination of the parameters that divide generators, practitioners and so-called consumers of art (and by default other knowledge-related activities) through the promotion of greater interaction between art and society and by encouraging reflection on the universal spiritual capacities that such encounters potentially reveal. Many of the objects in the show were placed in, or on top of wooden boxes, some of which were open or partially open: interpreted by some as an invitation to look inside and touch. A dialogue was therefore initiated, in which individual viewers decided which types of behaviour were appropriate to the space, thus re-defining it for themselves. I responded by either accepting changes, restoring objects to their original positions or by allowing new ideas to lead to further iterations,depending on how I felt the piece as a whole would be affected.
The table-forms were installed according to calculations that employed my body as a measuring device and the placement of objects on their surfaces incorporated planned and uniformlyordered sequences within which more seemingly random formal interventions would occur. The overall effect was that of a visual and conceptual dialogue between the rational and intuitive, or quantitative and qualitative dimensions of thought, which was expressed by a synthesis of linear and associative networks of connection between various elements of the piece. In order for unity to be upheld on a visual level throughout the space, there had to be an aspect of apparent uniformity. This implied using a single element and a repetition of forms that would bring a sense of cohesion to the eye by linking various areasof the space, whilst maintaining its historical and ideological associations. The degree to which such a standardization of form could be combined with more intuitively-evolved,organic forms and materials, and reach a point at which they fused and became visually inseparable from each other, became a pivotal technical concern, suggesting to me a relationships between phenomenological elements: the unique andintrinsic characteristics of which attain to their highest degree ofself-expression through interaction with others as the constituent parts of an indivisible, transcendent whole.