MA Studies > Fine art > Fine art alumnus > Yumemi Kobayashi

Yumemi Kobayashi



Experiment for sharing the world

知 魚 樂      『莊子』外篇第十七       


The Happiness of Fish from Zhuangzi

Zhuangzi and Huizi were strolling along the bridge over the Hao River.

Zhuangzi said, “The minnows swim about so freely, following the openings wherever they take them. Such is the happiness of fish.”

Huizi said, “You are not a fish, so whence do you know the happiness of fish?”

Zhuangzi said, “You are not I, so whence do you know I don’t know the happiness of fish?”

Huizi said, “I am not you, to be sure, so I don’t know what it is to be you. But by the same token, since you are certainly not a fish, my point about your inability to know the happiness of fish stands intact.”

Zhuangzi said, “Let’s go back to the starting point. You said, ‘Whence do you know the happiness of fish?’ Since your question was premised on your knowing that I know it, I must have known it from here, up above the Hao River.”

(The Essential Writings With Selections from Traditional Commentaries by Brook Ziporyn )


We use language for communication to express our thoughts and minds but during the course of communication, we lose many ‘things’ while we send some meanings. I am interested in that “disconnection” as well as “connection” of this relationship between words and communication.

 We perceive the world through the sense of ourselves. We cannot see the world through other’s eyes. However we can communicate when we imagine how others think, feel and live. We can share the world by trying to understand each other. We share time, memory, experience in order to live together.

I would like to recreate distance between ”you” and “me” and redefine the border of each other through my work. I would like to try to make conversation between past/now/future .  

How do we share?

My interests are ”How do we know the world and how we share the knowledge?” Each of our recognition about the world is different. I recognize world through my eyes and I cannot see world as someone does.

Messages are received differently according to the recipient’s race, gender, class and sexuality. (Cf. “Encoding and Decoding in the Television Discourse”, Stuart Hall 1973.) It's not always true that the message of the creator received by the recipient as the sender intend.

In this globalized world, more and more people from different background have contact than before. How can we understand each other without common platform? Why can we communicate even we live in our own world? What do we exchange during conversations and what is the thing we understand?


What do we share through words?

I have questions about “words”, which is one of the most important tools of communication. How much do words can reproduce our thoughts and emotion? When thoughts and emotion are in my mind, they are multiple and complex. A myriad of different kinds of emotions exist at the same time even we do not realize them all. We extract some of them and give them a name, limit them in a certain range. Apply minds with words interpret for others in order to communicate.

On the other hand, poetry allows elements that disappeared beyond language to exist between words. I hope I would make these elements leak out from language to be visible.