Three or More Fish
In human oral languages, fish might not refer to terrestrial animals. However, Tetrapods emerged within lobe-finned fishes, so cladistically, humans and dinosaurs are fish as well.
This fish story was the most unreal or unbelievable part of this revolution. Chen and Wu borrowed the power from the fish and made up a prophecy for themselves and others. Somehow the human-made words became a revelation after traveling through the fish's stomach. The fictitious belief contributed and led the uprising to a temporary victory.
Fish are crucial in that piece of history, and fish have always been important in various cultures and religions. Relying on the powerful natural transport system —— stream, lake, river and ocean, they often enjoy more freedom than many other species, as water sets them free.
I have many questions for that fish ——
Did it perceive the man who cut it open and inserted the letter as the same species as itself? Did it feel amused when seeing the truth being manipulated and human being deceived? Did it like to hold the power of predicting the future or become a courier from the unknown? Words, or messages constructed by words, were never part of a fish's diet. Did it even understand the language it once carried in its belly?
I made some ceramic versions of the fish. They might be vehicles or machines. I put myself in parallel universes to encounter these fish repeatedly. Sometimes fish came to me, while on other occasions, it was me who found the fish. I marked my journeys on a map. I thought by recreating this historic moment, I could find my answers.
Ruoyi Shi (b.1996) is an LA-based interdisciplinary artist working with object/sculpture and video installation.
She combines humor and fiction to build her poetic way of expression. Her narratives are based on her personal experiences, memories and assumptions about and towards the real world.
She grew up in Nanjing, Jiangsu, China. After graduating with a BFA degree in Sculpture from Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in 2019, she is now pursuing her MFA in California Institute of the Arts (CalArts).