Archive for November, 2009

Signs & Wonders

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

With a prestigious grant from the Asian Cultural Council, Hammer adjunct curator James Elaine moved to China in April 2008 to seek out emerging artists within China and throughout Asia. This blog provides a fascinating insight into Jamie’s travels and the art world in China.


During my many travels across China I often come across signage with English wording that is not quite right for one reason or another. I guess you could say that they are lost in translation or signs that make me wonder. They are oftentimes charming, sometimes rude, but always entertaining and can be more insightful or poetic than a perfectly translated version. Language is a strange thing and can too easily be taken for granted. Sometimes I think I can understand the written Chinese better than English because of the word play; I must think hard a moment to uncover the true meaning. Here is a dim sum taste of what it is like to live in a semi-abstract linguistic world.