PSFK talks to Jie Song, the mastermind behind an impressive musical project involving a number of communities worldwide.
Emerging Face of a Nationless World is a cultural work with a deep philosophy behind it. The project is Jie-Song Zhang’s response to an invitation from the USA Pavillion to share ‘American culture’ with the world. His performance based project will be performed at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai and later be released as a film.
We asked Jie-Song to talk a little bit about his project and what’s currently inspiring him.
What are you working on right now?
These days, I’m “trafficking”, so to speak, a lot of artists and artistic materials in and out of the recording studio, and on and off camera…
I’m building an infrastructure on behalf of my non-profit organization, Stone Forest New York, to be able to facilitate meaningful work that engages the cultural and the artistic dialogue taking place between communities worldwide.
And… in the time that remains, I am playing electric violin and providing Hip-Hop vocals for my avant-garde Hip-Hop group, the Stone Forest Ensemble.
Tell me about this preface video for Emerging Face of a Nationless World?
Every great human action first begins with a vision – the materializing of a destination or destiny for people to work towards. What you see in this preview video is a vision of the world that I have had the privilege of seeing, as a result of my life experiences as an immigrant, and my travels both across the globe and into adulthood. But it is also a vision of the world and of humanity that many others have seen, have glimpsed in flashes, discussed vigorously over coffee, and held inspired within their chests for moments at a time, all across this earth.
What has been the most interesting response or reaction to your project?
The reaction thus far has been intensely positive. A girl just messaged me earlier this week saying the preview video made her cry. A number of people have told me that they got chills watching it. People have been collectively moved. The word ‘hope’ continues to echo around me.
But it really is the universality of the response – the diverse range of the positive feedback, from different communities and countries, even in different languages – that has been most worthy of attention. I believe this reflects a fundamental understanding by human beings that we are in fact, at our roots, at our foundation, one. I believe this to be an awareness inherently breathing in the human consciousness, one that has always, throughout our collective time on this earth, been the source of our willingness to care for and identify with one another.
Part of this is built into our drive for survival, I am certain – to empathize with one another such that we can work collectively to preserve ourselves – but another part of this reflects our instinctive and signature desire to know that we are a part of something united, something greater, the children of the same immaculate giver of life, brothers and sisters and protectors and builders of the same sacred home.
What developing trend, idea or technology makes you most excited or hopeful for the future?
The development of the human mind.
The mind itself is the most elaborate piece of technology that has ever existed in association with the human being, with its ability to adapt, its power to understand and conceive, its potential to continually strengthen itself…
The mind has always been our most important piece of technology, with thought and feeling being the products of its cultivation and work. In a sense, everything that has ever been created by human hands has been to serve the advancement of the human mind.
Today, not only is the mind able to much more easily access tools and materials for learning; but the numerous rivers of connectivity (in terms of information and greater access to travel) that now thread individuals together across the world have given the human mind an unprecedented ability to see and feel what the world is, what humanity is.
The mind can now directly come into contact with images, sounds, and words from across the world that show, in any given country, in any given home, that the fundamental experience of the human is the same. That it is an experience bound by loneliness and isolation in search of belonging and meaning. That we are all prone to feeling disconnected, lost, ashamed, weak; but that in the voices, the touch, the convergence of the eyes and the collaborating hands shared between one person and the next, lies the evidence of our value and importance, and the realization of our power to dictate our destiny.
Thanks Jie Song!
Jie Song is an international artistic director and musician based in New York, his musical group is called the Stone Forest Ensemble.