Yale-China-Louisville Exchange: Weeks 2 and 3

The Hong Kong artists wasted no time in delving into their projects while in Louisville. In their final two weeks in town as part of an IDEAS partnership with the Yale-China Association, Yang Hao and Parry Ling continued to work with Louisville-based organizations and innovators to develop their projects and share their knowledge and work with the community.

Read about their first full week in Louisville here.

Yang Hao continued working with dancers from the Louisville Ballet to develop his research on movement and used knowledge gained from this research to perform a site-specific solo piece at the Smoketown Arts Festival. After this performance, he continued to work with the dancers while preparing to perform a piece he choreographed while in New Haven for the International Festival of Arts and Ideas. The piece, called “pied-a-terre,” incorporated movement and dance with poetry. Hao described the idea behind it as “taking this simple thing to talk about what a human being needs. What I need is love—everybody needs this.” Hao describes his piece like this:

“This piece began with Jessica Rizzo’s text, three voices speaking simultaneously, a polyphonic poem juxtaposed with one body bearing the weight of it all. Yang Hao has interpreted this text using dance and pedestrian movement to speak to his experiences as a Chinese man pushed and pulled by both eastern and western cultural influences. Artistically, Yang Hao and Jessica Rizzo are interested in investigating the fragmentation of narrative and different perspectives on movement and language.”

While Hao was doing research surrounding dance and pedestrian movement, Parry continued to work on a number of other projects. He led a two-day workshop with YouthBuild students on pewter casting. He allowed the students to make their own small clay models and then taught them how to convert them into molds using silicon, and from there pouring pewter into the mold to create pewter castings.

Throughout his time in Louisville, Parry worked on a large wood carving from a 7-foot, 700-pound log. The carving resembles a human form, and he involved students from YouthBuild as well as community members to assist in the carving process during the Smoketown Arts Festival.

Following the Smoketown Arts Festival, Karyn Moskowitz of New Roots-Fresh Stop introduced Parry to the Root Cellar and took him on an adventure to Fox Hollow Farm.

Parry’s final project dealt with the issue of ugly food waste. In his final talk, Parry described the importance of the issue. “Every day we waste a lot of food. Food waste is pollution, too.” This issue provided the inspiration for his project, which consisted of carving “perfect” Kroger carrots to look like ugly and misshapen carrots from local farms. After buying a few perfect-looking carrots at a downtown Kroger, Parry set up a table on the sidewalk just a few feet away, and began to carve the carrots to look like the misshapen ones he got from the Root Cellar. He did this for eight hours as people occasionally stopped to watch and discuss. “It’s not just about food waste, it’s about our concept of social justice,” Parry later reflected, noting that the way we judge food mirrors racism in America. “If you use the form or the color to define if something is good or not…it doesn’t make sense. Food nutrition, taste, and texture—they’re very similar with both kinds of carrot, so why can we not put them together?”

See this New York Times article to learn more about ugly fruit.

At the Final Artist Talk and Performance at Louisville Ballet, many community members came out to hear about Parry’s work and see Hao’s “pied-a-terre.” After the presentations, there was a Q&A session with the audience. During this session IDEAS co-founder Theo Edmonds discussed the impact the artists had in Louisville. “There’s no separation for them between art and life—it’s all one continuous flowing motion,” he said, “There’s no difference between high art and what they’re doing in the community—they’re both equally valued.”

Having now returned to Hong Kong, Hao and Parry plan to take their work and research from Louisville back to their home communities to develop it further. Over the next year, they will return to Louisville. We are excited to continue working with them as we move into the next phase of the Yale-China-Louisville Exchange!

Thanks to all of the organizations and artists that helped make this exchange possible:
Asia Institute – Crane House
Louisville Ballet
New Roots
YouthBuild Louisville
University of Louisville Department of Fine Arts
Yale-China Association

Photos by Kertis Creative, Lydia Grossman, Parry Ling, Josh Miller

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