Loren Connors

Book 26.

Auspicious. (2002)

In traditional Chinese households and businesses, there are put up posters with phrases on them foretelling good fortune and the growth of the family unit.  These often have red backgrounds, gold text, and garnished with typical motifs such as the bat (fortune), dragon (male), phoenix (female) and other animals to symbolise prosperity and strength.  Every chinese (lunar) new year, these posters are taken down and replaced by new ones to indicate a new cycle of hope. 

More often than not, the phrases used are all based around material things such as gold and jade, or in support of the ‘traditional’ family structure.  As a desire for something other, something different and perhaps something better, I decided to post up posters emulating the usual ones, but with sayings which would reflect an other state of thinking.  One which embraces subtle humor, but also one which urges the individual to stand on her or his own outside the false dreams of money and dependence. 

On a freezing lunar New Year’s Eve, over a hundred of these posters were posted throughout New York City Chinatown.  Just in time to greet the dawn, and the arrival of a new day and a new year.  Although a few of them were torn down by morning, most of them were still evident in the early afternoon when the parade was going full on, The dancing lions were gracing the streets accompanied by the beat of the drums and the clash of percussive instruments, the Chinese crowd dressed in shades of red watched and furtively snapped photos and shot videos of the festivities.  Quiet fireworks and red confetti scattered on the floor like leaves, my posters on the telephone poles suspended like wishes on Japanese trees.

This poster series is the first public view of a Chinatown NYC series.  it was conceived and executed in a week with the help of two friends.  Josephine Young, who jotted the witty phrases on a Thursday evening.  Benson Fong, who weathered the coldest night of the year to post them.

It is dedicated to those people who passed on before the dawn of this new year.