Location: Xichang, China
Completion date: 2021
Artwork budget: $5,000
“ofofofo” is an art installation designed for left-behind children at a school in mountain village in China.
It is built by the children and will be kept in the school after the camp ended, and become the “carousel” in the Daliang Mountain-nature “playground”. The second-hand shared bikes recycled from the city have become children’s big toys.
Connected end to end, twelve ofo bicycles together formed a shape similar to a carousel; in the centre, the roof functions as a shelter and becomes a human-driven ” carousel “. People affectionately call it ofofofo, and the rounded letters ‘o’ and ‘f’ echo the form of the installation. The emotion expressed by the form and rhythm of the close interlock, which is from the word (‘ofofofo’) and the object (the ‘carouse’) is like the golden sentence in Gertrude Stein’s poem, “Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose”.
This is a unique and fantastic installation. It is very safe-biting each other, twelve bicycles formed a stable structure that could rotate without falling over. Under the safe structure, children explore and develop their senses and motor nerves, exercise the balance and coordination system of their body, and try to collaborate and take risks.
In recent years "bike-sharing market battle", tens of millions of ofo bikes appeared and disappeared suddenly from the streets of the city.
Can these "disappeared" ofo be collected and reused in another way?
In several deductions of the plan, combined with the structure of the ofo, the flexibility of the overall installation and cost budget, we final selected and perfected the "ofofofo" plan.
We have carried out simple transformation to the ofo in advance to make it became a "folding bike"; re-assembled the skirting and other parts to make a support structure- roof, making these twelve ofo a "raw material" in the hands of children, which could transform into a big toy for them after simple processing.
The ofo that "disappeared" in the city has become a "big toy" for children. After being "defamiliarized", those daily products then have a new form telling allegory of things.
In the Daliang mountain, there are various plants and all different shapes of rocks hiding in the mountain, as well as the Yi language which has been passed on through the vicissitudes of life.
Yi language originated from ideographic language. And gradually transformed into phonetic characters in a slow evolution, forming a unique language text structure: similar to the simplified Chinese seal script, most of which are independent characters. Although it is a unique script of the Yi people in Daliang Mountain, nowadays, there are fewer and fewer people who can write in this language.
After communicating with the Yi language teacher on the campus, we jointly brought a Yi language lesson to the children in the camp. The characters written by the children were attached to the tarp of the installation with paper tape, decorated by spray painting of plants and rocks collected in the Daliang Mountain. With the silhouette of plants and rocks, Yi language formed an image with a strong sense of composition. All of these together built an installation that just belongs to Daliang Mountain.
The campaign coincided with the Yi people's Torch Festival. The state-level Torch Festival were cancelled because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Kids inevitably feel disappointing. In this year camp, kids created the “ofofofo” together by themselves and share this gorgeous object with more than 70 kids who in the camp. The unique gift in Torch festival turned the playground into a fun carnival with full of laugh. Playing is one of the few things in children's lives that they can control by themselves. They wrote in their diaries: "Today is the best day ever, because we do a great job on assembling bicycles!" "I have a special happiness today; the teachers said these bikes will be kept in our campus!"