Poor Coffee – An Art Project

May 26, 2011



Poor Coffee – An Art Project

Poor Coffee is an art project by artist ZHENG Yuan-Han. It is now presented at Xindanwei and can be ordered from the Xinkafei menu.

Duration: 26th May 2011 – To Be Informed
Location: Xindanwei, 50 Yongjia Rd., Shanghai
Cost: 35 rmb/cup
Artist:  ZHENG Yuan-Han

About the Poor Coffee:
This project is about Mixing, Lineage, Time, Memory, Emotion and Life. By mixing two common tastes from daily life, the traditional information within each of them evolves into a brand new way of thinking and experience.

Poor Coffee is a beverage composed of authentic coffee and fermented Pu’er tea. Looked at from the perspective of its timeline, its cultural background and tradition, Pu’er and coffee are heavily symbolic beverages.

“Poor Coffee” is both a public installation and a space to provide a service. It can be set up in a particular place by hand, and then exists and serves as a node for people to meet in. Through the Poor Coffee installation, the information being conveyed and exchanged in this particular space can be stored in the artwork, thus, this exchange of information conveys the new thinking and experience which are advocated by Poor Coffee.

The new thinking embodied in the drink considers how, in our short lives, we can experience a state which is more peaceful, more open, more tolerant and integrating wisdom within this impulsive and chaotic world.

This new experience of coffee together with Pu’er tea, combines eachs long history as well as their beautiful legends. They are also similar in colour and the emotion, and their profoundness lies in their deep colour. Coffee is refreshing with its distinctive aroma, tasting bitter at first, followed by sweetness. Similarly, Pu’er tea’s bittersweet taste leaves people with an aftertaste of a legacy of history and reverie.

Coffee finds itself in every corner of the Western world and is closely related to space as a form of culture. Tea enjoys the same position in Asian cultures, such as China, Japan and India. Tea is also a noble beverage in Western countries with an exotic touch, and it becomes a key product in our time advocating the concept of nature, environmental protection and the maintenance of health. Pu’er itself enjoys a long history and its nature, colour and taste resemble those of coffee to a considerable degree. The combination of these two drinks can generate a special emotion and multi-level taste, which also embodies the diversity of culture.

Confronted with globalisation, the turbulence and shocks in the world; facing terrorism, assassination, coups, tsunami, earthquakes and the decline in morality in human beings – what has become of us? Where have all the glorious ideas of the philosophers gone? What about the humanism that we used to have? Poor Coffee is more than just a new taste and a new cultural thought, it is also a time machine which makes time stand still. It’s a complement to life, and it’s about a hope for “slowness”.

The form of the piece:
The artwork “Poor Coffee” can be presented in various forms. It can be as large as a real cafe or as small as a sign or a mobile installation. It is omnipresent. Each one of the potential forms can be the external experience conveying the inner information within the piece.
The piece provides free WIFI on site when displayed. The surroundings will be integrated with the piece for the external experience that Poor Coffee creates.

Visit the project’s website: Poor Coffee for more information.


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