|Weihong: 255 - 0 + Tea
20-Day Interactive Art Installation
October 2 - 22, 2003
255 - 0 + Tea is an interactive art installation by the American-based artist Weihong. This installation is designed specifically for Yak Cafe and Gallery, Dali, China.
The title is based on the computer digital designations in RGB: "255" is 100% pure white, "0" is 100% pure black. For this site specific project, the artist will create an immersive black and white environment: a table in half black and half white, a black chair and a white chair; black and white tea cups; a tea-pot half black and half white, black and white sesame crackers on black and white plates. The space will then be surrounded by black and white canvas screens. As viewers enter this installation, they are led to contemplate the extreme minimalism of black and white. Once seated and served tea by Weihong, tea drinkers discover the black tea cups engraved with "255", white tea cups with "0," and the teapot on both side with "255/0." This prepares the participant for the unique experience of teatime with Weihong.
By using "255/0" the artist Weihong mimics the T'ai-Chi symbol: the white is Yang, also "255"; the black is Yin, also "0". Weihong's tea ceremony combines visual appeal with an original concept: The underpinning of the exhibition is the interactive communication between the artist and the tea guests, which leads into the I-Ching notion of "Change".
Since the late 1990s, Weihong's intuitive art projects have demonstrated her proficiency in a variety of media: site-specific paintings, installations, performance art, photography and video. Her work weaves the core concepts of life into one changing "line" that offer concise meditations on humanity, nature and the changing energy of the Yin and Yang. Weihong invites viewers to interactively follow this flow, find one's inner peace, to act, and to communicate.
255 - 0 + Tea typifies this Eastern-suffused philosophical minimalism. This project was first exhibited at "Positive / Negative Art Space" in Houston, Texas, USA. During this 36-day interactive art installation, Weihong received 178 tea drinkers while photographing her guests, then installing these photos on an animated Internet web site: www.geoprobe.org/teaguests.html 255 - 0 + Tea was honored as the "Best Tea Time" in the "Houston Best 2002" issue of the Houston Press, September 26, 2002.
For its second stop, Weihong brings her project to Dali, China. She plans on presenting 255 - 0 + Tea annually in varying global locations, with no boundaries of culture or country. Future animated Internet websites are also part of the Tea Project.
Catherine D. Anspon
Weihong's "255 - 0 + Tea" installation view at the Lab Gallery, New York City, 2004