For this artist book, the Chinese conceptual artist Song Dong had an untranslatable sentence about the act of doing nothing translated into English by various people, companies, a translation office, and Google Translate. The Chinese characters are identical on each paper, but each translation varies a great deal. The sentence and its interpretations circle around notions of doing something, doing nothing, wasting and not wasting, each containing an individual perspective on the value of human activity. With each letterhead, color, and signature, the connotation of the line shifts, and Song Dong's own handwritten decryption oscillates between doing nothing and common everyday activities: eating, drinking, defecating, sleeping, studying, forgetting, rehearsing, and understanding. At the end of the list one finds again the advice Doing Nothing.
Song Dong (*1966) lives and works in Beijing.