Xu Bing’s (徐冰) Square Calligraphy Classroom 英文方块字书法入门 is a mixed media installation which simulates a classroom with desks, copybooks, ink, and brushes, in a gallery or museum setting. “New English Calligraphy,” a writing system invented and designed by the artist, is a fusion of written English and Chinese where the letters of the English words are slightly altered in a square arrangement resembling Chinese characters. A teaching video plays on a monitor and the audience is invited to participate and try their hand at this new ‘Chinese’ way of writing English.
Xu Bing states: “As people attempt to recognize and write these words, some of the thinking patterns that have been ingrained in them since they learned to read are challenged. It is the artists’ belief that people must have their routine thinking attacked in this way. While undergoing this process of estrangement and re-familiarization with one’s written language, the audience is reminded that the sensation of distance between other systems of language and one’s own is largely self-induced.”
Source: Xu Bing