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Huang, As If

Author: Liang Shaoji Translator: Lu Jiang 2017

Chinese character "huang" (恍, meaning “all of a sudden” or “as if” according to the dictionary) seems to be the only realistic portrayal of the present existence. In terms of the structure, it is composed of "xin" (心, heart or mind) on the left and "guang" (光, light) on the right. Apparently, the character implies that one experiences, chases after, and be bathed in the light attentively.

"Huang" describes an illusion of loss. Life and the world are like clouds, smoke, and light, difficult to distinguish between imagination and reality. It is possible that the inner desire unites the illusion with the reality when the mind gives birth to the image. As Alberto Giacometti once said, “The object of art is not to reproduce reality, but to create a reality of the same intensity.”

"Huang" is the movement of time. A flash of thought, apart from being close to the meaning of “the top of the moment” (刹那顶) in Buddhism, is connected with the concept of “existential time” in existentialism. "Huang" produces a sense of distance by virtue of the motions, as used in the term “(something is so different) as if a century has passed” (恍若隔世, usually used to describe the dramatic changes in an object). In the waves of globalization, people often feel anxious yet bewildered, in a state of chaos while refusing to loaf about. Everything in the world seems to be within reach but also quietly sleeps away, so close yet distant.

"Huang" is the eve of “sudden enlightenment” (恍然大悟) and “seemingly rebirth” (恍若重生). It is difficult to change this mystery of the world since antiquity. Nevertheless, as long as one keeps faith in heart, the haze will eventually disperse and the shimmer in the dark will arrive. The hymn plays the sound of redemption and self-redemption, “the empty room filled with bright sunlight” (虚室生白, symbolically meaning that those who calm down and get rid of inner distraction will encounter unexpected good fortune).

Giorgio Agamben once said, “Darkness is a type of light that tries to reach us but not yet reached.” And I would say that silkworm is the apostle of light as if it illuminates all of a sudden.

Liang Shaoji
August 2017

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Liang Shaoji: As If


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