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Selected Journal for Portland public art

Sept. 16, 1998 NY
It was late afternoon and I rushed out of Lehman College for my installation of Polyphonic Reality and drove right to Chelsea. I met Eloise Damrosch, the public art director from Portland in her hotel's lounge. Ms. Damrosch handed me a package of information and a roll of maps for the building where I was going to submit a final proposal. It was quite stuffed in the envelope. She briefly explained the function of the building.  We sat across a tiny table by a window. It was fall, in the gloomy dusk of New York City. There was not much light between the dark outside and the few light bulbs and the crystal reflection of glasses from the other side of bar. I tried to figure out Ms. Damrosch's story about the site, but my lacking knowledge of Portland made it very hard to follow. Ms. Damrosch was casual and calm yet efficient and precise. I had a very good impression of her, particularly after the experience I had in Boston for the Artery Project a couple years ago. "We are looking for a piece of wall sculpture in the center of the wall space." Ms. Damrosch continued: "but you can propose whatever you think will be proper."  The meeting was brief. Ms. Damrosch came to New York Not for business, but for her family reunion. Her family went to a movie while she bought me a drink, and we talked in the hotel lounge. She would soon be joining the rest. I felt kind of bad to take her personal time: "No, I don't mind," she said lightly.
We said good bye to each other. I packed myself into a typical narrow rolling door of most New York hotels. Soon, I was on the evening street. There were lights blinking in buildings while I thought, there is one thing that makes me feel comfortable living in the city like this, as I was living in Shanghai: you are so trivial, even your treasures or secrets are great. There are the complexities of many tiny individuals like these blinking lights, that are filled with their own greatness and dreams, close, yet detached.

Sept. 22, 1998 NY
I went to the Queens Public Library and checked out more than twenty books about Portland and the State of Oregon. I came back home and buried myself in the pile of books. I read the history of the American Indians, the Western Frontier, the Oregon Trail, the gold miners, the fishing and lumber business, and the geographic nature of  the forming of the city of Portland. I was quite thrilled to read about the different political atmosphere of the past and today. I could hardly picture the harsh history of Chinese and Japanese immigrants in the past. From page to page, maps to maps, I was like a primary school student learning many things that were obscure or never known to me. I was completely lost in the reading. It was like a trip that took over the purpose of the initial goal and went on its own course. I was lost yet what did I care?

Sept. 24, 1998 NY
I remembered that once I stood on the hill of Qing Shi Huang's tomb and looked down miles of slope that slightly extended to the edge of the horizon many years ago. It was the first time I realized the impact of mystical Chinese geomancy that many college-educated young people like I, at the time, were often somewhat suspicious about.
What I have experienced often goes beyond what I am told. It seems there is a reason that many civilizations are built against hills or mountains and facing water. Historians tell us the feasibility of transportation was the reason for this in history. Rivers, undoubtedly, are the practical reason of it. Yet if we close our eyes and feel the physical position and its surrounding, where a civilization is built upon the mist of mountains and the trails of weaving rivers that run from the hill to the sea -- as we see from the sky -- there is some mystical quality in that. The city of Portland is no exception.
Almost all my work has more or less to do with rhyme in space. When I played with the placement of rattan in Brush Strokes, it often took me a whole day to determine the position of one or two pieces of rattan. The spaces between the rattan were only a few inches, no matter how hard I tried various combinations, I found certain mathematical patterns that persist that somewhat relate to my body's intuitive gesture. It was a discovery. So when I worked on my pamphlets' series, I gave up subjective deliberation of measurement. The random and mechanic placement became basics both for concept and construction. However, in Fluorescent Pamphlets, I deliberately chose two forms of lights: one straight light versus two cross-parallel lights. This, again, had to do with my space-rhyme instinct as well.
Although the Brush Strokes and Fluorescent Pamphlets have nothing to do with actual sound, the form of rhyme is always part of it. As I wrote years ago: I see duration in space and space in time.
There is something constantly exciting in me, something between the explicitness of mathematical measurement and intuitive spiritual blindness. I thought about Yi-jing. I see much similarity in the Chinese old wisdom. I realized when I took that much time to shift the pattern, either rattan or lighting, I was dealing with the nature of change and balance like Yi-jing.

Oct. 9, 1998 NY
After I studied the architectural plan and model of the site, the idea of an object in the center space on that wall became surely unsuitable.  In the designed area, there will be a beam about 30' away from the wall and about 10' above the ground, then, there will be another 20' from the beam to the entrance where one/fourth of the wall space will be blocked by this beam. Also, due to the wall extending to two floors and sharing the view from both ground floor and second floor, I think the piece should be viewed as an overall and non-symmetrical pattern that covers the whole wall, rather than an object in the middle. The overall design will give a sense of completion from both floors and different angles. I realize this overall design may not be what the art committee is looking for exactly, but I will do my best.
The public art is not just a decorative object of architecture, but rather, art should be a part of architectural design, the extension or the continuation of the bone and skin of the particular architectural environment. Public art should be considered and planned with the process of design and construction of the building both physically and conceptually.
Here comes the consideration of the security desk. The piece is 5" deep. By talking to Mr. Rich Attridge, I noticed that the precise dimension between the wall and the security desk hasn't been decided yet. I hope something can be done later.

Oct. 24, 1998 NY
I have worked with glass people at Brooklyn Urban Glass, and also looked at  parchment paper in a lampshade store in the Lower East Side. I would like to have pamphlet parts done in glass as I always wanted, but that is depending on the cost. Yet I found out parchment paper would not be cheap either. The budget I have here is surely not enough. I try to not think about it and just do the best I can.

Nov. 14, 1998 NY *
After two months' preparation, finally the whole the package of the proposal for Portland is out. I went to UPS at 42nd Street and made sure everything was all right. What a relief!  Last night I had a peculiar dream:
The dream was about the question of my proposal. It started with my struggling with many animals. It was strange to me how I could fight so many of them. I must have had  someone to help me. Very soon, the dream came to the subject. I tried to explain what I proposed. At the time, there was a huge gale and storm all around, the sky was gloomy dark. I was screaming and yelling to others on the street because people could hardly hear my voice. I kept on with my "screaming speech", up to the part about yi-jing, and I found it rather amusing. Knowing people could hardly understand what I was saying on this dark stormy street, just as I talk "nonsense" in my class and leave students with confused looks sometimes. It is a sort of daily monologue to myself, half metaphor and half disconnected. The dream ended with me talking to myself down the street in an exquisite peace. It reminds
Walking under the thunderstorm, I
        am untouched, untouched because
There is a turmoil inside, where I
        try hard to be lifted above the clouds of
tranquil sky

Dec. 4, 1998 NY
I am sick, yet here came good news from an e mail:
Dear Suikang:  The committee loved your proposal and voted for it unanimously! I am so thrilled, but not nearly as much so as you, I'm sure.  There are technical issues to talk about, but for now let's just celebrate your success. The group is so pleased with your idea and to have a piece that is so thoughtful, beautiful and unlike anything else in our public collection. So, Bravo.  Let's talk more next week. Eloise.
I am lying in bed. The news is overwhelming, and yet I am too tired to realize the impact of it. It is my many years' dream to make a piece of public sculpture like this. People have been scared of the complexity of the piece until today. I hardly can believe that I am actually going to make a dream into physical reality when I was about to give up.
Quite often, after a period of hard working, when the good news comes I am not able to feel it. I hate any kind of competition, and consider it as the most unnatural chain lock that superimposes humans in the name of order for our society. However, in my life, I hardly can get away from any of it. Every time, passing a door of competition makes me physically sick. This reminds me of my horrible experience during my college entrance examination -- an elimination process that runs one day a week for a month. I was sick every week after I came back from the exam, laying in bed and waiting for permission to go on next. I still can see those sick days of the early weeks, receiving announcements by mail in the midweek and preparing the exam for the weekend, twenty years ago.
Anyway, there is a wonderful peace in this moment. The winter sun casts its crispy lemon light through the window. I am very much grateful, yet don't know what to do with my gratitude to all the help and support that people gave to me, particularly Eloise...

Dec. 9, 1998 NY
For the reason of maintenance, there is a consideration of changing the lighting device, instead of the fluorescent tube from the art committee. My concern is that, whatever lighting device is determined, the whole sculpture should work with the chosen lighting as a whole, not trying to imitate the fluorescent light. In the final work, it should be seen as the only lighting device that can be, not an alternative.

Jan. 26, 1999 Portland
Meeting with everyone: Miles from YGH, Rich from the City, Aaron and Jeff from GLUMAC, and finally Nels Hall came. We discussed many issues that relate to the project. Among them, the issue of maintenance for the fluorescent tube became a concern. Many of them preferred fiber optic, while my main concern was the visual result. To me, fluorescent would be simpler and the size of the lighting tube is right with the scale of the glass. (The maximum size of the fiber is only a half inch in diameter). In the meeting I showed everyone a fiber optic sample that I got from a trip to Seattle a few days ago. Aaron said he would get more information on fiber optic.
The flexibility and color change are the advantage of fiber optic. If there will be any color change, I would prefer it to be slow and unnoticed. For that matter, I asked Paul Benton from Fiber Optic International when I was in Seattle: "How slow can the color wheel turn?" The answer was 15 seconds is the slowest move per color. I asked if it was possible to make the color wheel turn one hour for each color. "No." Paul said. The consideration of turning the color is out.  However, I am still considering the possibility of changing the color tone for every season, for instance, white for winter, green for spring and so on, and a slight tone, not even color.
Mr. Nels Hall walked in the meeting room after everyone left except Miles and me. We discussed the issue of bottom protection for the sculpture. He also asked if I have decided the source of writing yet. "Not really," I replied and told him the two alternatives that I addressed in my proposal. "Here is a suggestion," Nels said: "We have an Architect in the Public School program: through the program our architects connect with kids from city. I see you have a very good idea of using texts for the city building that has much to do with the future of Portland. Why don't you use our Architect in the Public School program and get these kids to write about the future of the city?" It was not a bad idea.
I came back to the RACC office and told Eloise the result of the meeting, as well as Mr. Hall's suggestion. She had me talk to RACC's Education Dept., Margaret and Lisa. Both of them told me it was not realistic to use the Architect in Public School program because every project has to plan way ahead due to the school schedule. In addition it will take much time just to organize the activity for the kids. Their suggestion was to go to college students and adults.
March 28, 1999 Portland / first night of second trip
Despite the technical matter of firing glass and determination of the lighting device, the most important thing I have to deal with in this trip is collecting the texts. Although there is a workshop arranged in a few days, I don't have any solid connection of any kind. Talking about connecting the people who have various culture backgrounds, I, as a Chinese, even do not know a single Chinese soul in the city. In the evening, after I settled down in the NW hostel, I went to Chinatown, hoping I would have some luck to meet a few Chinese fellows. Many streets were quiet by this time, except Powell's Books still had bright lights where people walked in and out. I was going to eat in a Chinese restaurant and hoped to get to know someone there. I was disappointed there were only a few people in Chinatown. Through windows, I rarely saw the customers in the restaurant. "I can look in the white pages and call everyone who bares a Chinese name." I said to myself on the way walking back to the hostel. I tried to convince my self to build up the determination, though I knew it was the stupidest idea that I could think about at the moment. "I will do it!"
I rushed to the white pages as soon as I walked in the door. I opened the book, following ABC, the first last name is "Chu". The long list of "Chu"s made me lose hope. I went through the pages, looking for other Chinese last names, and they all seemed infinitely long. I sat back in the chair, imagining how my abrupt phone call would sound to the other side of telephone line, and how awkward my repeated explanation would be. I completely lost my courage for doing it like a burst of suddenly discharged air.
I met Susan Fillin-Yeh at Eloise's Party the last time I was in Portland. I remembered Susan told me her husband was Chinese. I called Susan. She was there and very glad to know I was back. I explained my idea of collecting the writing for the project and told Susan I needed a contact. I asked if I could talk to her husband Mr. Yeh. Susan let me talk to her husband. It happened he didn't speak much Chinese. Mr. Yeh told me Susan had more Chinese contacts than him. Back to Susan, she gave me several names and telephone numbers. "Charles Wu is teaching in Reed and he will help you with Chinese contacts," she said.
I called Mr. Wu right way. This time I dared not speak in Chinese directly. "Of course I speak Chinese," Mr. Wu said. Well, that was some relief for me. I explained my project and what I needed. We talked for a long time beyond just my project. Mr. Wu's Chinese has an accent that I am familiar with. "Where are you from?" I asked, "Shanghai." "Ha, I am from Shanghai as well." I laughed. In the end conversation, he gave me a list of names and telephone numbers. "Qian Zifen, who is a Chinese artist I mentioned before, he will help you find..." "Wait a minute," I interrupted him: "Qian Zifen? Is he from Shanghai Teacher's College?" " Ya." "I knew him!" I almost screamed at the top of my lungs: "Really, how?" "We were classmates in college!" It took me a little while to say it. "We used to live in the same room in the school dorm. Someone told me he was somewhere on the west coast. I even went on the internet to search for his name last year. I never thought he would be here." "Well, we are very good friends," Mr. Wu said.
After I got off the phone with Mr. Wu, I called Zifen right away. Of course he was very surprised. It was after 11:30 PM. "Where do you live?" I asked.
"Beaverton." "Is it close?" "Not really, but I will be at your hostel as soon as I can," he said. When Zifen walked in the door, I could not believe we had not seen each other for seventeen years! Yet it seemed everything was exactly same -- naturally it was not; he has a wonderful wife and an adorable daughter, a highly paid job, a big house in Beaverton, maybe missing a dog. Anyway, meeting with an old friend in this way was really a thrill for me. It was after midnight and raining. We went out and tried to find a place to sit, but most places were closed by that time. We came back to the hostel and talked for hours. After Zifen left, I sat back in the chair and barely could move: I couldn't believe I was attempting to grab anyone blindly a few hours ago -- that, is my life.

April 1, 1999 Portland
Being creative and being willful are quite different things. Amazingly, I found people from this culture, despite its claim to emphasizing "individual will", have similar problems of being creative. Students from my class could be in tears when I pushed for their own ideas: "Please give me an approximate guiding line, I am not as original as you expected," students would claim desperately. Some people seemed confused when I asked for a short personal writing for my Portland project: "Tell me what I should write and I will write it for you," someone said to me, or a few simply handed me the beautiful quotation from a famous person or literature: it is great because it is passed down through the centuries. "No, I want yours," I tried to convince them:   it may look silly as you thought, but it is better because it comes from you." I was surprised my encouragement sometimes gave the person more bewilderment. This reminded me of my college political course on Marxism many years back in China. One of the students asked: "Can we answer the question in our own words on the exam?" "No," the professor was very serious: "You have to understand that every word of the sentence is tested through time. How can you think yourself this smart?" I burst out in laughter. No, I had no intention of making fun of the professor, yet what he said was too funny to be as serious as he behaved—not even mentioning that the translation could vary from German to Chinese!  Now people were using the same terms that really made me stunned.
To be creative is an attitude rather than a talent. With so-called originality, creativity creates a unique environment that is based on its own interpretation and self-questioning. By building a unique environment of its own, creativity can delineate, draw a slightly different line away, off the existing "common" picture and weave the net in its own coherence. Creativity has nothing to do with ego, nor likes and dislikes, not even the effort of trying to be different, but the effort of self-reflection.

April 2, 1999 * Portland
Again it is Friday. I can't do anything here on the weekend. I am all nerves in this immovable, monstrous weekend.  I will be back in NY tomorrow. I am very tired. At least I am pushing all three things to the best I can.
The workshop of collecting the text was totally a failure. Only a few people came. I realized what I really needed was personal contact. I spent the rest of the days trying to talk to every possible contact. Zifen was the first person to write something for me and quickly solicited some of his students. One day Zifen and I went to find more contacts.  He tried to help me when I talked, but we didn't get many results, except I left my information flyer there.  When we came back on the street, Zifen started to criticize the whole idea and the possibility of collecting text from individuals: "It is absolutely impossible," he started: "You are not in China. People are all busy for their own life, plus there is all of this commercial salesmanship going around. You are competing with those 'professionals' while you sell an empty product for nothing. You were so shy and almost silly when you were doing your sale (sell)." I knew the difficulty and there was no need for him to tell me. As far as things went, I had no way to argue with him. I felt the same pattern of relentless arguing coming back from the past. "Why do you need writings from all these people? It can't be read on the sculpture any way. Yes, for your idea, but so what, all because of these trendy concepts. What is more important? Is the visual or the content?  Do you still work in content-driven-art as we did many years ago in China?" I looked at him in silence, knowing his point and even his own frustration in art these days. There were too many issues here. I didn't know where to start. "You should simply have one person's writing translated into different languages." He kept going: "In the end, they look all the same. I knew an artist who did that." "No, that is the complete opposite of my idea." I tried to control myself but came out in a grumpy voice: "This is not an issue of visual form, you have to understand, all my works derive from that specific concept..." "Well, well..." Zifen was still quite a considerate person as he was back in college. He represented an easier and nice guy while I was an ugly fighter. It still seemed so: "I thought you became much mellower over these years in these last few days. After all, you are still an old stubborn man as much as in college, ah, ah. We don't change, do we?" Zifen gave up like in old times. It was wise to give up. He must have known it, while it was bewildering only to me. My unreasonable Tories side has persisted, as I said to others who told me the impossibility of the project: I will show you the miracle...
The most worrisome problem of lighting before this trip, now appeared easy to resolve. Although I was not completely satisfied by the result of the fiber optic, for consideration of the situation and technical matters, I had to accept it—fiber optic is not as good as fluorescent light but is not as bad as I thought.
As far as the technical problem of glass and printing, we have to wait. The only thing I want to see is the possibility, nothing else. However, the question and difficulties are pushing me to the edge of the best professional work that I can produce—I have to keep the attitude.

April 23, 1999 * NY
After I hung up the phone, I sat there and didn't move for a long time. I talked to Roberta Wong about my idea of having others involved in the project, and collecting the writings from people. I realized what I was really interested in was individual thoughts and experiences, rather than the general question of the future vision of Portland that eventually leads to those politically correct answers that I hate the most. Over the years, I have made every effort and tried to focus my idea on solid yet tiny ground. As the writing element is concerned in this project, I would like to have text written from the specific and personal point of view, the experience of being in that place. It will be interesting even if people give me different writings, in terms of content and style. I am going to revise the previous writing invitation.

May 9, 1999   NY
There are more and more texts coming in these days. Finally I got the writing material moving. There is a concern about the different styles of the texts, particularly since I changed the question and focus during the collecting process. As a matter of fact, I like the whole collection of texts lacking subjective organization. That is what the reality is about. By reading through all these texts, one will have the impression of fragmentation and feeling shifting from one place to the other. I have no intent to unify all the content and include every aspect of the communities in Portland. The process is going on in an imperfect, yet organic way that I am very much fond of. It is my idea that regardless of how capable I am, and how much help I have received from others, I am still a limited being whose process is evidently linear. I can see my collecting process as drawing a line randomly through the city in this particular time and space.
Nels once mentioned the idea of documenting the process of the project. I think it is important, but I shouldn't rely on others. I have an idea of making the documentation a part of the project.

June 14, 1999  Portland
Here comes a question for the color of texts from Nels—if red would be too much? I tried to be objective and not to be upset. I have no ego to insist on my idea as God given. I am ready to change, if it is necessary. I went to the site by myself and simply wanted to make sure myself. I saw Rich and other Planning Bureau employees there, "What are you doing here?" Rick asked me: "I am trying to think about color," I said. "It is too late to think about that now, you have to work on it," he smiled.
I sat in the construction site where some workers were working on Robert Calvo's floor piece. I closed my eyes and tried to imagine the effect of the colors. I could see nothing but only red, or maybe blue. I understood Nels' consideration of the color of the building, which has a quite neutral and light green tone. However, my color was chosen upon consideration of the floor color. I may have had some other color considerations without pre-determination of the floor color. I found it was Nels' questioning that made me firm on the color: it had to be red.
I came back to the RACC office. Eloise was very much in agreement with me. She said if there was any change needed, that should be done through the meeting of the whole art committee. She called a meeting right away. Late on that date, I talked to Miles on the phone. I explained to him that when glass is sand blasted and has light going through it, the resulting color will be very different. I urged Nels to meet up with the rest of the people on the art committee. I would show actual glass and fiber optic on the site. Miles said, however, Nels still wanted to me to meet him right before the Thursday meeting. "Nels wants to discuss some alternatives." He said. I don't think the arrangement is proper, particularly since Nels hasn't seen any of my actual lighted glass yet. However, I agreed to meet him anyway, under the condition of making no decision before the mock-up meeting with the art committee.
The issue of color had been bothering me for whole days. In the evening I went out to a movie with Robert. On the way home, suddenly everything was clear in front of me. I could see myself flowing through the project. I did my best to let things naturally fall into their own place. Everything had been going as well as I could manage, regardless of the glass or the lighting problem. Even Ray's argument helped me to think and make the best product possible. I appreciated that. I like working collaboratively with others. But this time was different. I had to be responsible for the final destiny, just as the experience of hearing music that often comes out of me, no matter how clear and detailed, I still have to form a course that I want.

June 24, 1999 Portland
I came up to the place where I noticed that the literary part of the text would become one of the most important elements in the project. It would be the living part of the piece.
All the problems and issues had pushed me further in considering details of the piece. As the result of Nels' argument of the color, I realized that, as the matter of fact, the color had to be a purer and brighter red. The image of the text had to be crisp and floating on the grayish sandblasted glasses. The piece has to be delicate but tangible in the neutral tone of the architectural environment, as bright color lines weave across an earthy, muddy color field in a painting.  This image helped me have a clear vision of the piece. I was confident that I will convince others in postpone mock-up art committee meeting.

June 28, 1999 Portland
It was a good day for the project, although I had bad news of my pet fish from NY. Eloise told me David Kish approved my budget that had gone over the original. This was great news that meant I was covered. I didn't have to worry about the money, at least for the creation of my piece. I was able to hire Robert as an assistant for the installation. This was greatly due to the effort of Eloise who had been supportive ever since the beginning.
I almost had enough texts, except I still needed some more Arabic and Hebrew. I was feeling I could have a little break and actually thought about going back to NY, which I knew was not possible. The only thing I was worried about was the schedule, which seemed to keep pushing back. We might not have been able to do the mock-up until the second week of July. I wished I could overlap some of the work, from cutting glass, to printing and firing. Otherwise, it wouldn't be finished before I left, even if I delayed my flight. I was thinking about coming back for another week in the fall. I would see.

July 13, 1999 Portland
...There are few abilities I have tried to maintain so far, fortunately, one of them is the ability of detaching myself from the impossibility, despite my hot blood emotion. Once I physically walk out of the situation, I am not in it. It becomes a telling story, an artifact that can be consumed and be entertaining. It is my psychological status of being foreign and the curiosity of differences in humanity—this could be my daily entertainment, and more importantly, the salvation of my sanity.
I decided to have participants write short personal information about themselves. I would let them write whatever they want to. This information would vary, depending on the person: some casual and some academic; some particular and some detached; some timid and some straight forward. The important thing is not what they write, but how they wish others to see them from the other side.

July 14, 1999   Portland
I spread fiber optic and glass prototypes in RACC's storage room and tried to decide two matters I'd been wondering about in my mind for a long time: 1. the color change of the fiber, and 2. curve shape of the glass.
I tested many different color tones for the fiber, and ended up with a decision of no color for the fiber optic at all. Kate agreed with me and Eloise had never thought about changing the color. I was glad to have this support even though it was not popular.
My initial response was to dislike most of the color tones, except for the blue one. Many colors look too decorative. They might look "interesting" or "entertaining" but not what I had pictured. Even light blue tones are too "softly beautiful". What I want is neither entertaining nor pretty but simple, a shocking yet tranquil experience, a mental state that is transcendent above literary content, even as a visual effect. The plain white light has its detached and senseless sharpness that keeps away from a "classy" taste and sentimentality, and goes straight to blunt purity. In fact, the red colored text with frosted glass is already too slick and tasteful for me.
By now I realized it was time to diffuse everything into one simple unity of nothingness. This piece started with the maximum outreach: the information of individuals, the consideration of the social and architectural reference of the site. The piece was burdened with tremendously loaded context -- now all of them should be buried into simple, less entertaining, almost "boring" mechanical objects, so that the piece can achieve the experience of void and the state of spirituality.
About the glass shape: first I questioned the double curvy shape that I recently changed. I was going to ask Ray to make a straight curve. But after looking at it through the lighting tube, I decided to keep the double curve.  The straight curve looked too "professional and slick", less organic. It looked too much like a commercial decorative wall lamp. 
In the evening, Linda and I again had a conversation about the art again. She asked me how important it is that the texts can be read in the piece. “It is important and not important at the same time,” I said. I tried to explain my idea: how the individual output, texts, or words become a fragmentation of a ritual object. By distorting the syntax and canceling their literary meaning, text can be broken into pieces among massive others, and go beyond, to its original connotation. However, the specific individuality as an eternal element will be always there no matter what I do to them. "Ritual?"  "Yes, the ritual without the ceremony." "So it signifies..."  " No, no, not that word." "No, yes, I know you don't like that word."  "I don't like that Word, not because it is so-called snobbish..." "It is snobbish." "It is because the word has too much weight in its fixed meaning, which takes meaning away from its originality," I said. "You see, there is one who has an original interesting thought, yet, his follower camouflages the meaning of the thought that the master tried to unveil. What an irony." I continued, "Let us go back to the piece. I see I am facing a task, that I am still not very good at yet, of getting the maximum number of elements possible, then, fusing everything back to zero, to a form of simplicity. It is both humanized and spiritual. You may see I am ending up at the place which is very much what Modernism claimed." "Yes, it does," Linda was surprised. "However, the difference is that Modernism believes in the obsolete transcendence and ultimate truth that can be obtained and applied universally, while I believe the linearity of human existence is limited.  His capability and achievement to spirituality is not the ultimate, yet it is legit only for himself and not others. In other words, the notion of a sage, a hero that carries the ultimate truth under the name of the traditional concept of individuality is typical in the definition of Modernism. Do you know what the truth of individuality is to me? It is unique because its own limitation within a trivial matter, despite of the likeness to many others, yet every individual has slightly difference in its own way. All those writings in the piece come from one particular space and time, they all address their own issue on the experience of being here, they are all in the form of language, although from different cultures. The evident similarity and the unpredictable variety are within one thing. Thinking about the conceptual aspect of the process of collecting text, no matter how I urged people write differently, in terms of personal reference or social context, the differences actually are quite small, however, they physically come from each independent minded being. They are unique in small details, yet the triviality of the differences doesn't cancel the spirit out despite my mixing them all together. The only thing being partially destroyed is the syntax, which, to me, is the representation of the social structure, while the spirit, beyond the surface meaning of the language, is eternal. This is the world that we have to understand. The individual texts are interwoven into another form of texts, just as the existence of the ambiguous universe is formed by a lot of solid, little, individual matter. There is no contradiction here between a fragmented yet solid individual and an ambiguous universe as a whole. Do you know what I consider a good work of art?" I suddenly changed the subject. "It is a work you can go in for details, no matter what formal, technical, or social implications are there, but can come out and end up as a simple contemplating experience.
July 19, 1999 Portland
Niradone, one of the writing participants on the project, came to RACC for her English translation. She explained to me it was quite difficult for her to compose the poem in the beginning, because "I am not a professional writer," as she put it: "but you know what, I wrote another poem a few days ago. Do you want that as well?" "No, one is enough for me, but please keep it going, don't stop," I replied. "It is very strange," she said: "Once I started, I couldn't stop it."

July 22, 1999 Portland
I am often fascinated by the strategic aspect of advertising and marketing business. I am interested in this hyper-real consumer world in which marketing experts are able to be creative rather than just
simply conveying the message of the advertising. There is a mysterious marginal space between what is expected, and what is fancy. The ambiguous expectation is created or is being created from mass consumer society. It is a dilemma of conspiracy between consumer and industry. Even from a simple or silly piece of advertising, we can see what is played out between the reality and the fantasized expectation of the viewer. It is the psychological ambiguity, the anxious expectation that interests me.
I requested personal writing of a different kind. Now I was asking for each person to submit a picture and twenty words about themselves.  There will be an interesting contrast between the hardly visible individual text on the sculpture and specific detail in the catalogue. Viewers surely are curious to know who these people are.
However, the limited information in the catalogue is only enough to give a hint to the imagination. I am not going to give any instructions of what to say in 20 words. Everyone will have to create their own mysterious environment that depends on the person's expectation of others. Since they all know the catalogue will be available for the public. There are two ways of communication, one from the person submitting the text, the other from the viewer later looking at the piece—of which I see a pattern of communication quite similar to the marketing business.

July 23, 1999 *   Portland
The Portland piece is derived from my Fluorescent Pamphlet series that I did years ago. However, with participation of other individuals and literary documentation of the process, the ideas have come to a point where many of my thoughts over the years are formed in one place.
Being away from China all these years, I have gradually built up a vehement hostility to the exclusive Chinese feudal hierarchy, a deadly sickening mentality that I found in my blood. As Chinese, very often we generalize and simplify everything, because everything is divided among the best and the worst according to our hierarchical order. We stereotyped the name, such as the West or the East, and have struggled with it ever since. We classify the name such as American, Western ghost, black ghost etc. Within China, people even fight for the imagery classification geographically —someone from Shanghai may make fun of others as being uncivilized while others may consider Shanghai people as being business smart: according to traditional Chinese hierarchy, business is the lower rank and should be looked down upon. Almost half a century of socialist reign has not much to do with the ideology that is claimed, but pushes the cultural hierarchy to the extreme of confrontation on the personal level. My best friend, Jonathan, used to be surprised by my way of generalizing. I still remembered his critiques after all these years.
I have such mixed feelings toward the essence of our old wisdom: the recognition of the fragmentation, intuitive and imperfection in the world of perfection, as Lao Zi put it: the name can not be named, one hand, and the exclusive hierarchy of intellectual-bureaucratic mentality on the other; the ambiguous metaphysic is one, and practical social omnipotence the other. As a whole, the element of anti-rationality and anti-duality in the old wisdom bring a blindfold into the combination of the two, in which loose individual fragments only exist in the reconciliation of confrontation and give way to the absolute unquestionable hierarchy. The perfect match of these two opposite extremes is evidently the essence of our culture and the reason for our prolonged dynasties. This combination immerses deep into every corner of our daily life, including the so called avant-garde Chinese art at present. The fact is profound yet confused.
For me, the most objective observation, either critiques or grateful realization of my own culture was done after I left my country or went back after being absent for a long time. Many of these experiences are often the result of my physical and mental confusion and struggling for years. They are enlightened and heart broken even today. My art is a vehicle that reflects my existence in this particular time and space. It has been a path to see not what I am able to be but what I am not.
One of the most obvious changes I have had in these years is detaching from the mentality of hierarchical obsoleteness. Philosophically, I stay away from both the duality of transcendentalism and the duality of empiricism. I prefer the monism of fragmentation, where the boundary of objectivity and subjectivity becomes obscure. I've tried to complete my trip through my roots and skip whatever is Eastern or Western in the future, where lies the reality as it always is.
I see reality as a glorious form of chaos in its spiritual beauty that is a result of massive fragmentation of overlaid individualities, as well as their random interaction. There is the possibility for us to trace the linearity of the individual and to become lost in the communication among others. There is no hierarchical framework needed. Reality is like a jellyfish that one can feel only through the experience of touching the tangle of its organic variation, inside and out. I hope my work is able to reach that state.
During the process of collecting these texts, my personal voice is limited. If one carefully looks through to the whole collection of the texts, he will easily find there is no specific literary intention or category of any sort.  In a way, the whole thing is collected by "chance" that is far away from perfection. However, there is one thing in common: that all the texts are the individuals' interests. Even some, through time, will become leftovers of the fragmentation of the past; the importance of their social connotations are only valid in a particular personal context, so the spirit of the words as the object become more important than the texts' actual meanings in the future.
The piece has evolved from time and space in a particular environment, yet the final product of the art is an absolute state, an experience beyond social references of the time. There is the process of maximal beginning and minimal ending. I see the extreme opposite approach in the coherence of unity. By adding personal information in layers upon layers, it creates a massive parallel form that destroys the hierarchy of the social structure and makes individuality ambiguous. Individual linearity is expended into space where there is no definition of beginning and end. As a physical object, finished sculpture will achieve the state of oneness formed by the visual impact of the vast of fulfillment, while the context of the spirit, hopefully, will keep their living existence forever.
To me, the problem of minimalism is that it subjectively rejects the fragmentation of individuality, and is indifferent to the individual.
My understanding of making art does not seem realistic. I don't believe in the legend of the master who generates an entire cultural landscape. And neither do I see art as exclusively made by one individual.  But through the process of working on this piece, it is the others who often show me this is the way that it has to be done. I found that not everyone feels comfortable in a position of collaboration -- freedom and responsible commitment are hand in hand—at least there are some who would rather be sheltered under the legend. I have tried my best to make people realize how crucial their participation is. This piece can't be done solely on my individual effort. Not only that, I intentionally gave some space for others to control their participation even in the parts that I would usually do myself. I have tried to explain this to many people as part of my concept of the project. The funny thing is that you can only execute this idea only if you are given authority.

July 29, 1999 *   Portland
After working with Tien for two days, I realized I have to do work on the graphic layers myself. At a rough glance, all the layouts are just randomly overlapped, yet whether the combination is right or not is something I find mystically exists in my intuition. Just a painting, I can work on for hours without satisfaction, and all of sudden, in only one or two strokes, it is finished. There is no reason and shortcut for the process of art making. I have to play with the combinations in order to tell it is right or not. I may not be satisfied after trying many combinations and am surprised to see the following result. Plus it is not causal on the computer like painting. I have to do many graphic preparations before working on layers in Photoshop. It takes quite some time to work graphically on each text-image and import to and export from different software—the experiment of various possible combinations. The mechanical process gave Tien a lot of pressure, while I didn't know how to make it easier for him, so we decided I would work on the layer combination in the evening and Tien would help me finish the graphics during the day.
I called Eloise at home after coming back from Ray's studio and told her the color was getting better. We also discussed my idea of documenting the working process, the consideration of making a catalogue as a part of the project. She was very supportive and encouraged me to write the things down which I did. I hoped this time critics would pay a little more attention to the working process.  The final work is the result of the fragmenting of daily thoughts, changing and problem solving. Particularly, the existence of the catalogue should give much emphasis to my ideas that are often misunderstood simply as political correctness entitled "multi-cultural", under the effort of "the most idealistic of the artists, in his wish to bring out the commonality of the people of the world" as Mr. William Zimmer wrote for my Lehman exhibition in the New York Times. I hope my selected journal will prevent commentary like that.

Aug. 10, 1999   Portland
Finally, this morning I am convinced that I have to postpone the schedule and come back again in the fall. I have pushed everything and tried every possibility to the last minute. By this time, the only thing in my mind is an old Chinese saying: one step back you see the ocean is grand and the sky infinitely high. It will be better to take time and do good a job rather than rush it.
The problem of the color came back again. I once again sat in the RACC storage room with my prototype. I tried to figure out how much I can take with this dull color. I lit the fiber and noticed it would be awful with dark color, since fiber optic is not bright enough, particularly the opaque back-lighting, which blocks all the light from the back and prevents the back part of lighting tube from reflecting the white wall behind the glass. The importance of the reflection is that it will illuminate the back of the frosted glass and lighten up the whole piece. Weeks ago, I sent a drawing to Lumenyte and had Mark ask them to either move the back-lighting block further back, increase the viewing angle or completely take it away for my order. I thought it should be easy since it is custom made anyway. Mark faxed me the information that Lumenyte asked $5000 more on top of everything. Two weeks later, Mark faxed again to say that Lumenyte was not able to do it. I called Lumenyte to explain the importance of it and begged them do me a favor. The person in charge said that he perfectly understood the problem of the viewing angle. It was a very good suggestion but they couldn't accommodate my need at this time.  They needed to get approval of the technical data, before "putting it on the market". "How about next year?" the voice on the other side of the line suggested. I was upset, but there was nothing I could do, at least it made me feel good that I created an idea for the industry. Without reflecting light, all the glass will be left in the dark, and that will increase the contrast between the section of revealing fiber and the rest of the glass; as a result, the piece will be dead. I will talk to Miles to see if there is the possibility of having any other lighting source, though I don't see much hope for it. There is only one thing I can do: the color should be as bright as possible, there is no other solution.

Aug. 13, 1999 Portland
Someone warned me it was Friday the thirteenth, but it turned out to be quite a good day for me. I gave David the budget for the catalogue. He thought the city printing shop would be cheaper. He gave a name of a contact and suggested one thousand originals instead of two. I got a quote from the city print shop and went back to David. He returned my call right away and said it was fine. I was very grateful for David’s support.  I called Kanaan and told him the good news. I explained to him my basic idea for the design and layout. We scheduled a day for him to come to the RACC office.The last day of packing, there was a big mess in the Portland building in the afternoon. The bureau would be moving to the 1900 building by Monday. Everyone was busy, with only me sitting in front of Tien's computer working on my layout, as if nothing had happened. Tien was so busy that I had to figure out some technical details by myself. To me this was the deadline for the final layout, not only was Gary waiting for these layouts on Monday, but also the computer network would be shut down this weekend, so I buried myself in the last effort. Finally I finished the whole thing including the printed vellum. It was 1:30 AM.
I walked out of the Portland building in such a delighted mood. (I have been working "two shifts" these days. The efficient progress made me very happy. During the day, I was in the RACC office till about five, and then I went to the Portland Building before everyone left for the day, so that I was able to work there through the evening.)
I rode my bike on 5th Avenue. To my surprise, there was traffic this time of the day! I went on Broadway to the bridge and saw many young people were going in and out of the bars and night clubs. I realized it was Friday night, actually it was Saturday morning.
I am such a workaholic! Hard work gives me delight. It seems I was born to pay a huge debt. It gives me the feeling of relief every time I pay off a big "sum."  I came home and did some cooking, took a shower, played a little bit of piano and listened to some music. I was surprised to notice the piano was a half note lower than usual and the music was off tune on this particular night -- that drove me crazy. I realized I was extremely tired. I was in quite a wired mental and physical state. I stopped doing anything and just lay on the floor, I knew I was overly excited while, in fact, I only had a dead walking body. 

Aug. 14, 1999   Portland
After all of these days, working on the layers is the first time I have felt close to the actual work. The physical tangibility makes me miss my studio where I can easily execute any changing idea. Working with many people and different aspects of the project is not easy. In my studio, I can change anything by physically moving it, which only takes a few minutes; while in a project like this, there will be meetings, corresponding with many other parties, planning and discussing possibilities, and the method of change before anything can be started. The possibility of intuition is extremely limited in public art, with which you have to be very careful. I remembered the struggle and frustration that Judy Pfaff had when I worked with her. It is difficult to work on public art in the same manner as in a private studio. However, I consider it as a challenge. The challenge is not always negative. Nels' question of the color made me rethink many things beyond the issue of the color.  Thanks to his deliberate consideration, I was convinced the purity of the red needed was the opposite of his worries. By the same token, Ray's constant question of the quality of production pushed my determination and gave the final product its best quality. From this particular project, the only thing I was reluctant to change was the fluorescent light. For that, I am working with the best technology allowed today.
On the one hand, I can't wait to go back to my studio, just playing around with stuff. On the other hand, I am interested in different situations: how art work is done in the public realm, and not only the process of the production, but also the nature of the collaboration. Art, as always, requires full commitment of the introspective inner self. No great art can be done without the solitude of contemplation, yet since the artist is also a being that is interwoven into reality like many others, the artist neither can create an image nor an idea out of context. It is an organic relationship like a living body of water to its surroundings. Public art physically pushes the artist to realize this reality.
The process of forming my art is never solely my own effort. I once said to Allison Sky that it is almost necessary for the artist, more or less, to have some experience of working on a public project. "No, not everyone is able to do that," she said. "It is not the matter of ability, but of personality." She was right about the matter of the artist's working behavior, yet it brought me to the realization of what makes art.
The idea of site specificity is a question of the traditional function and communication structure of art, and takes art away from the traditional museum/gallery space. The effort of making a departure from "main-stream" often made its association with the nature of experimentation, and of the peripheral. Since the nature of public art often is permanent, that requires many limited restrictions from various aspects that made the image of the public art completely the opposite to its twin-sister: site specific installation. As a matter of fact, as the concept of art is concerned, I can't see any closer relationship between the two, just as the relation between drawing and painting, which each keeps its own uniqueness.  The two can't be separated, at least in my point of view.  Public art is the constructed version of experimental site specific installation.

Sept. 28, 1999    NY
Color is back. Both Eloise and Robert went to Ray's studio to see the result. This good news came in last week. As I thought earlier, it wasn't some impossible high tech problem. Ray found it was the problem of heating speed.
As a person dealing with the whole project, I should be the last one to be panicked when problems come up. I hardly can pretend, but I have to find a way to distance myself and let everything fall into its own place. I have kept working as if everything is fine, giving others confidence. As the process goes on, time will show the possibility. The other important thing that I learned, as a person conducting every detail: I am at the service of others. Not any ego should exist, particularly from my side. All my effort is for the result of the work. I have to trash all the negative energy as soon as I can. I don't work with a single person, and don't have a linear relationship with any aspect -- that gives me a possible position of being objective, even objective to my own emotion and frustration. I become a vehicle, a channel, a flux through which much turbulence and weaving energy can be transformed. Finally, I become invisible, only the work exists.

Nov. 22, 1999   Portland
I had Alex hold the glass against the wall. I tried to decide whether the piece should be placed away from the ceiling, or start directly from the ceiling. My observation was that my original idea, to place it a few inches away from the ceiling and bottom, was wrong. The original idea of placement makes the piece separate from the architectural space, or independent from the wall. (It is funny how the words change the objectivity.) If the first line is placed directly from the ceiling, it will become part of the architecture. I went up and replaced Alex. I held the glass and asked others' opinions down there. Most of them liked the few inches away from the ceiling. "Why?" I asked. "It looks caught up with something. While there is space between the sculpture and the ceiling, it gives a feeling of being centered." "You are quite right," I said. "Just for that reason, I would like to have glasses going all the way up the ceiling. I want it to be part of it, not independent from it."

Nov. 31, 1999 Portland
Very early morning, in a comfortable little cafe in NW, Robert sat by the window, and bathed in transparent lightness of the morning sun, warm and cozy. His head constantly fell on his chest, but he tried to keep awake. There was a slight smile of apology on the corner of his lips: "Why don't you take a nap?" I said. "No," the answer was too firm to be true. "It doesn't matter, we can wait," I said, even though I just called Debra and she would be on the site by 9:00 AM. I read the paper, drank my coffee and left Robert alone. In just a few minutes, Robert dozed off. I put away the paper and just sat there. I was watching Robert’s relaxed facial expression, so calm that it seemed nothing could be touched. The sunlight was placing the shadow of the window-frame across Robert's face. The shadow of leaves scattered from place to place flicking the light. I narrowed my eyes, tasted the extraordinary moment of peace. It was funny; I didn't feel tired at all. I just walked through the most intense day and night, during which, not only we finished an unbelievable amount of work, but also were confronted with impossible problems and changes.
All the pressure is coming from the time. I only have about 30 hours to finish before the dedication of the piece. By yesterday morning, there were eight lines waiting to be finished, not including all the troubled end-glasses. For the last ten days, however hard we had tried, we were only able to put up ten lines. In the morning Eloise sent Wendy and Katy to help. They brought much food and delight on the site that surely freshened up the nervous atmosphere. The good thing was, both Naomi and Alex were able to work independently. Over the week, we established an organic and supportive team and now I owed a great deal to all of them, particularly the later involvement of Ovid, his straight forward and efficient working method, and his calm and constant strength to the very last end. (He left the site just a few hours ago before the day break) – all of the effort was for the sake of art, despite Ovid's cynical view about the art, which brought a wonderful conversation between the two of us, early on at Wendy's birthday party where I met him. Ovid is extremely fascinating, at least from my perspective, as part of my childhood experience of China's relationship to Romania. No matter how bizarre it was, the superficial imagery of Romania was one of the only few filters, through which the Chinese saw to the West — now we laugh about it.
By the afternoon, Robert told me that the problem of the unequal brightness of the two fibers could not be solved, not even by turning the harness. I tried to reach Mark and the technician of Lumenyte in California. There would be only a few hours before the day was over. Mark responded fairly quickly this time: he would be on the site about 6:00 PM and asked me to be there. Luckily Eric, the technician from Lumenyte, called when Mark was here. They tried everything, it didn't work. The conclusion: the product was defective. Lumenyte would send new parts through overnight shipment. No, this was not a solution at all. I tried to be calm. Finally, Mark, Eric and I decided that Lumenyte would send a completely new set of replacements for defective fibers later, and I would enclose the whole fiber optic installation temporarily. There was no time for being upset. Robert went to his evening teaching job after Mark left. I locked myself in the back space of the plaza. What would be the worst? To do a temporary job to enclose the side glasses and re-thread the fiber later when new fiber came in two weeks. I didn't even think of how to re-scaffold the site. By that moment, I had no choice but to take any possibility that I was confronted with and do the best I could. I picked up the phone: "Eloise is in a director's meeting, I can't get her right now." Kate had a tone of apology and continued, "I don't know how long the meeting will be, but I do know the meeting will go much later, after everyone leaves here." "Kate, do me a favor.  Whatever you do, make sure Eloise comes to the site before she goes home." "I will," Kate's voice was brief and firm as a buddy.
There was another matter in my mind at the time. During the time we tried to solve the problem of the fiber, Robert once mistakenly turned one of fibers backwards. It dimmed the light yet gave the piece a completely different look. It was a glimpse of enlightenment to me. I told Robert to leave the fiber there. I would think about it later.
From the very moment of deciding on fiber optic instead of fluorescent light, the brightness of the light had been a constant concern. From choosing the fiber company, to expanding illuminators from six to nine, particularly using LEF510 fiber cable -- all the consideration was for achieving the maximal lighting output. The reason I finally stayed with Lumenyte and LEF510 fiber cables was because their fibers have a notch that make the fiber brighter, although I noticed early on that the back lighting of LEF510 creates a narrow opening in front, and blocks the reflecting light that leaves my glass in the dark.  In looking at the four lines of glass and fibers already installed, it confirmed my worry that the contrast between the glass and the revealing section of fiber was present. I had to make myself accept the result.
Now I had an example of fiber in a completely opposite placement: instead of placing the brightness area towards the viewer as supposed to, I turned the fiber inward, shining the light back to the wall. What I saw in the front now was the back-liter, which was specifically designed for blocking light and sending it to front. Now I reversed it backwards for reflection. What a bizarre way to alter the technology, but it reduced the contrast, gave life back to the glass and changed the atmosphere completely. I knew somewhere in my body that I wanted the change after seeing it. However, I had to wait, not because the fiber would be less bright in its backward placement. The possibility of change came too fast and that would reverse all the design efforts of the industry and all my efforts of these months. I could hardly make the decision, particularly in this confused situation.
Not much later, Eloise walked in the building, I told her what had happened and what I intended to do, briefly. "It is OK, do whatever you can. At least we can show people what it will be like," Eloise said calmly. "Don't worry about it, I think it will be a fantastic piece anyway." I was very touched by the tone of her voice. I knew this was NOT OK, tomorrow would be the day of dedication, but the confidence and support that she had meant a great deal to me at the time. We discussed the possibility of turning the fiber backwards. Her reply was positive as well.
Eloise left. I was back to doing whatever I had to do. Yet I was quite spacey. I was going to ask Alex to open the fiber boxes and check if there were any more defective fibers, but finally I worked on it myself. One moment I was testing the fiber, and the other I was staring at that "mistakenly" placed fiber up on the wall. Very often I gave people a wrong answer for a question and I had to fix it later on.
Here was the hesitation: despite my not being sure about how it would look in terms of the whole installation if I turn the fiber backwards, there was something that intrigued me, it was sure. Yet there was a resistance for change, how sure was I that all my effort could go to its opposite? I had worked so hard to obtain the brightest possible device of fiber optic. Could this effort lead me to a wrong destiny?
I waved away these doubts and I came back to my examination of the fiber. Somehow, I noticed the result varied each time I checked. I was sure of the good and the bad one, but not those in the middle quality. I was suspicious, but did not have enough of a solid idea yet—something seemed to be changeable there.
I put away all these headaches and would wait for Robert's return, so that he could give me a hand to further test all my doubts and suspicions. I went back to the installation where three teams were installing the glasses at the same time. 
About 10:00 PM, Robert was back. I told him my doubts about the defected fiber. "Debra and I tried this morning, and Mark tried as well later. It didn't work to turn the harness." Robert answered while he was walking to a pile of fibers that lay on the floor with an illuminator. Robert started jiggling the harness. When he was turning the harness, the brighter fiber suddenly changed to less bright and vise visa. "Wait a minute! Let's turn it slowly, very slow..." It was the moment: "If something can't be changed like this, there must be..." before I finished the sentence, both Robert and I saw the light shifting to equal lightness between the two fibers. Our eyes were staring at each other and could barely utter a word. That was it! We looked around, everyone was working away. No one realized what a discovery we just had. Now I still remember the bright red cap that Robert wore, that he hadn’t had time to take off since he walked in. The smile on Robert's face was as bright as his red cap.
Now was the other matter. I told Robert about the idea of changing the fiber backwards. In a second, he looked at me bluntly. "Let's think about the visual effect before talking about the possibility." I followed up with his doubt, "I haven't thought about how we could change the four lines where we already enclosed the end." "All right," Robert said slowly, "do you want me to go up there and start shifting the fiber?" "Yes, please."
Robert was up there turning the "mistakenly placed" fiber back and forth. I took a chair from the security desk, and sat right in front of the sculpture that was covered by a massive structure of scaffolding. I tried to fully concentrate. Actually, what I did was close my eyes. There was only one line being placed this way. The rest was surrounded by a dark area, so it was hard to picture the result. As usual, I closed my eyes to see what was in my mind, but this time, it was more. I had to imagine what it could offer: what was the piece going to be, what I wanted to conceive and what could happen if I reversed the fiber. Robert was very patient up there, while I was falling into my own contemplating. Once in a while, I woke up and had him flip the fiber the other way.
It was fate to change it, once the idea had come out in such a rush. Now the matter was: how could it be done? For a second, the difficulty of changing four enclosed fibers made me resist the decision. Both Robert and I knew it was not easy to redo those four finished ones, but what other choice did we have? 
All the decisions and resolutions were there. Now was only the matter of time. It was after midnight. All the crews were here and working at the fastest speed ever...
Robert moved and then woke up, a slight smile showed beneath the red cap under sunlight, not an exciting one like last night, but a soft and cozy one. He drank his coffee. "Are you feeling better?" He smiled and nodded. "Everything is fine. We have only those end-glasses to close this morning," I assured him.
On the evening of the dedication, Gary told me there were some dead lighting spots on the sculpture. It was my tiny center breaking light for Yin lines. I was very glad he found this, which meant that the differences were not completely invisible. During the installation, I tried many different solutions for using the shrink wrap to break the light of Yin lines. Many of them were too obvious, including the solution I thought of long ago. They all looked too obvious, like the idea was forced on the work without coherence. Finally I decided to hide it behind the folded glass. Visually, it looked much better. The trade off was that it required the viewer's close observation, so Gary's question pleased me.

Dec. 1, 1999   Portland
There have been many nights without sleep. I just finished taking a slide of the piece, it is 4:00 AM, and I am leaving in a few hours, back to NY. I have had only a few hours with the piece since it was finished.  Now I am too tired to look at it. What left to me are all these wonderful people here, the process of making the piece, and the memory, the experience of seeing it in the last few hours. I just realize that I am going to miss it. 
The piece came out almost mystically to me. In a way, there is no one that can take the piece away, not even photography can capture the experience that it gives. The piece has a life of its own now -- that makes me feel grateful.

Dec. 2, 1999 / on the way back to NY
You know what I like about the piece? The red texts seem to not exist, or I'd rather say, they’re floating on their peripheral life. That is one of the best gifts that I can offer to myself.
* Original journal was written in Chinese