The Algorithms Aren’t Biased, We Are.
– Thesis of ” Nicely nicely all the time!”
But what is a Twentieth Century pear?
They were found in the island’s mountainous region
a climate comparable to the northern China plains
and transplanted to the fertile, abundant virgin land
a seed of homesickness that sprouted, grew
and bore flowers and fruit―a fruit
whose pitiful shape, color, and smell were not mentioned in classics
Other than vitamin C its nutrient value is uncertain
lt symbolizes hardly anything
but its own hesitant heart.
广西师范大学出版社;第1版(2015年1月1日) – 杨牧
Yang Mu (Author), Lawrence R. Smith (Translator), Professor Michelle Yeh (Translator),
No Trace of the Gardener: Poems of Yang Mu. Yale: Yale University Press. 1998:167
In the 1980s, the Taiwanese poet Yang Mu composed a poem titled “Someone Asks Me Justice and Righteousness” in attempt to explore the issues that the Taiwanese youths had to deal with, such as cultural migration and identity under the circumstances of historical legacy. In the poem, Yang Mu fabricated a young man with uncertainties, who, premised on the doubts and confusions he felt on his own, wrote a letter to a distinguished scholar to ask questions including how the Taiwanese youths should deal with the identity issues, and how the youths should locate their own identities in the unjustifiable society. Metaphorically, Yang Mu referred to the young man as a pear which was transplanted from a frigid zone to the alpine environment.
In his words, it was a premature, vulnerable “20th-century pear”, which had transformed into a fruit with thoroughly unidentifiable content and appearance so as to adapt to the warmer climate in Taiwan.
By putting together the situations of the political system and the times behind the poem, it is not surprising to see that the uncertainties of the youths were due to the historical and political issues. Even though I live in an age different from what is depicted in the poem, I and the young people like me today, who have to constantly migrate for various reasons, just as the young man in the poem, have undergone prematurity and vulnerability both physically and psychologically in order to adapt to the dual or even multiple social, political, cultural circumstances. In such a context, however, I don’t view the vulnerable or premature characteristic as a pejorative expression. It is such a set of traits that allows us to be sensitive and pensive so as to reflect on and better understand the significance of existing in different social contexts.
Why this topic?
Upon my planning to work on this subject matter, a friend told me that it didn’t make sense to create works of this kind, and things would not change even though they were thought to be wrong, because “This is the way the world is, we could change neither others nor ourselves”.
While I had had some doubts about moving on with my research, I went on. No one is an innate racist, so why would those, who have no knowledge of the unfamiliar things not be less prejudicial and spiteful, or at least be a bit benevolent and treat the other different from himself/herself, for the sake of a better understanding of differences in culture and race?
At the very beginning, all I felt was heightened confusion and intense anger, however, up to now, I would rather figure out why they behaved this way, why they singled me out and why they had such a stance. I have been wondering, behind the fear, indifference, hatefulness, hatred, self-righteousness and arrogance, what they have undergone. Talking about the other side of my criticism on their attitude, in fact, I barely know anything about how they live their lives and what they have experienced.
一开始我只有不理解的态度与愤怒的情绪，但现在我会更多的去思考，他/她为什么会有这样的行为，为什么要针对我? 为什么他/她会采取这样的态度? 我想在他/她这种害怕，无所谓，厌恶，憎恨，自以为是的高傲态度背后，他/她经历了什么，从批评他的态度的另一面来看，其实我也对他的生活与经历一无所知。
What are the main sources of the information they have obtained? Probably they got knowledge from people, books, the Internet or the media. In the society that he/she lives in, the information he/she receives and distributing of resources of all kinds are by no means equal, this readily affects his/her behavior to some extent. When rethinking such an issue in terms of the unevenness of information and resource, he/she simply visualized and symbolized a group of people based on his/her own knowledge structure instead of understanding on an individual basis.
I constantly remind myself not to classify or label, when interviewing the specific groups of people in the process of creating the work. But no matter how much I try, such an issue was impossible to avoid. After all I aimed at specified groups of people to interview, and I am part of one.
Like many others in the world, I might have never considered this issue before I left China. At least such issues didn’t interest me.
Settling in Germany, I am racially different from most people, and I speak German with an accent. Such a difference, in every way, is like an invisible glass covering me all the time. Although I intended to create an artistic work without referencing my nationality or cultural background, I have been occasionally labeled as “Chinese”. It seems that I ought to include the cultural, political elements related to my background in my works since I came from China. Before reviewing my works, people would comply with a standard, namely I am a “Chinese artist”.
1. Speaking about this topic, what is the first thing that comes to mind?
2. What would you pick to illustrate your memory if you are given one color?
The Technical Testing
I had long been concerned with the technology of face tracking prior to the present project, and when finally deciding the subject of my graduation project, I determined to concentrate on the issues regarding human race and identity, in fact, distinguishing face and race is part of the technology of face recognition and tracking. In this sense, software and computing programs don’t only serve as tools, they function as an indispensable part of my creation.
Click here to see more：Testing-Research on Discrimination and Bias in Technology