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Boat of the Floating World

BOAT expresses strong symbolism in both Eastern and Western culture. In Buddhism, it is an ark that carries human suffering to a peaceful world; in Taoism, it is a metaphor for renouncing the secular. In Western religions, there is a story about an ark saving all the creatures in the world. In my mind, boat embodies a strength which is warm yet firm as a mother’s embrace, taking us on a journey in search of a peaceful shore, a spiritual home. We aim to create a boat-shaped sculpture, “floating”, on the bank of the Huangpu River. Standing by side of this busy river, the sculpture will create a contrast between motion and stillness, the imaginary and real space. The upper part of the sculpture is a boat house which represents a contemporary architectural structure in abstract form. Through this boat house, viewers can recall and imagine the old buildings in the docks of the Huangpu River of the past. Walking around the sculpture, one can see different dimensions of the structure from different angles. The sculpture therefore provides an alternative perspective of architecture, culture and tradition. The middle part of the work is in a linear form based on the shape of the Huangpu River. Symbolizing an “arrow of time”, it connects the past, the present and the future of the river. The River carries the history and stories of Shanghai. As boats come and go on the river, scenes of everyday life seem real, yet they float by as if in a dream. This boat house is presented in the form of art, which I hope adds a poetic touch to the landscape of the real world. As ancient Chinese scholars often expressed themselves by painting a small boat in their works, this sculpture, too, presents a contemporary aesthetic in the modern age.