Rather than an objective form of documentary practice, the research involves a process of embedded participation in the social contexts encountered, enabling an intimate form of micro-narrative to emerge captured through techniques of interview, conversations, sound recordings and video. These micro-narratives reveal new interpretations including hidden and unexpected connections between the histories and circulation routes of Porcelain (White China) and Heroin (China White – a pure form of heroin alternatively Fentanyl analogue used as a heroin substitute).

I am capturing this movement across borders and attitudes in this blog and through my multidisciplinary art practice which includes performance, documentary, sculpture and introspection. I am weaving between historic traditions on a very personal and shared journey that engages my practice with local artists and the global art world that passes through Asia.

This research-based project will take me from London to Hong Kong, Yunnan, Guilin, Hunan and Jingdezhen, amongst others where I hope to meet master potters and talk to educational activists, philosophers, artists and walk through the gritty streets and porcelain markets. The virtuous nature of the journey is set to the tempo of the volatile heroin addiction of my mother and partner and to look at Porcelain and Opiate trading links between the UK and China.

The art of ceramics is so entwined with Chinese culture that porcelain is also called ‘China’ in English. China is well known in the world for porcelain and the city of Jingdezhen is spoken about with a passion in the ceramic industries and the contemporary ceramic art scene. Jingdezhen is the most renowned centre for global ceramics, with the highest quality porcelain in China. From many blogs and conversations regarding this city, people say it is not a tourist city. It’s an intense city, vibrating with ageless rhythm; where life there exists as suspended between ancient layers of history and modern times. Day and night fires are put out, burning mud into utility and art, the air is full of industrial grit and transformative ideals.

I want to be charged up by the city, visit master potters with years of experience and a desire for a fresh start. I want to talk to educational activists, philosophers and artists and walk through the gritty streets and porcelain markets. I hear ceramic artists exchange stories of Jingdezhen, as a place to center yourself in this world full of ceramics, where porcelain in all forms is constantly caught in your vision. It’s seen stacked on bikes that are travelling through back alleys, huge vases are packed with straw, displayed, wet mounds turning, throwing and embracing, focussing, firing, glistening dust and glossed finishes, all tended to with care. I’ve watched countless YouTube videos and read endless books and blogs. I aim to experience these places first hand to further understand how porcelain can be used in a contemporary context.

Supported by:

a-n The Artists Information Company – Travel Bursary Award 2016

The Artists’ International Development Fund 2016  – Arts Council England and the British Council

Firstsite, Colchester, UK – Associate Makers programme 2015-16

WING Platform for Performance, 2016

Hong Kong Academy of Visual Arts, HKBU, 2016


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I had some information about the poem on this fan but all of my technology began to fail and lots of images and texts were lost. I remember it being about a poet/calligrapher who sat in the mountains getting drunk with friends and he became philosophical about life and his surroundings.

I met Dido and Kitman in our dorm at Cloudland Hostel. We have all become good friends. They both speak great English, Dido has won the first prize in a national English writing contest in Liaoning Province.

View from Cloudland Hostel window (above).

Dido is from Dalian, Liaoning Province and Kitman is from Hong Kong. We got taxi through the app called Didi and headed to Kunming train station. People were staring at me, as usual. I should be the one staring as people seem to wearing pyjama’s to get on the train. There is a big golden bull as a landmark.

We got on the train and had been transferred to a sleeper carriage but we could only share the bottom bunks with others. Otherwise we’d have to pay 30RMB if we wanted to sleep. Opposite us, a couple snuggled up all journey and wore the same t-shirts. We made friends with some young teens who were born in Dali. I gave them a couple of British Pound coins and they seemed to treasure them.

We were going to take a slow bus but it was really crowded. We took a ride from an unlicensed local taxi and it cost 50RMB, rather than over 80 RMB from a licensed taxi, to get taken to the Jade Emu Hostel (which is famous and has great reviews). Arriving at the hostel, there seemed to be lots of children making a huge noise and the staff were disorganised. I went over to a group of older British males and hung out with them for the rest of the evening. I felt relaxed with them and the conversation was on my level. Dido and Kitman had a lovely time walking around the old town and warmed to Dali.

The Chinese girls (who I didn’t know) in my dorm were up until 3am talking and had their bed lights switched on. They all woke at 6.30am, got showered and talked loudly until 9.30am. I was really pissed off and have booked a private room for tomorrow night, then Dido, Kitman and I will change to a more cosy hostel.