Written by: Lin Shangtong
Translated by Trish Lyons
Photographed by: Harry Liu
Lin Shangtong (LS): Do you like London?
Song Dong (SD): Yes, maybe because this is my first overseas city.
LS: Among your artworks, is Waste Not important to you?
SD: Yes. There are two others, Writing Diary with Water and Touching My Father.
LS: You mentioned the word Trust. Can you explain it further?
SD: Trust is the most important and most valuable thing between people. Without trust, incidents such as Xiao Yue Yue occur. Each time Waste Not is made the trust between my family and me becomes more solid.
LS: Can you recognize every piece in Waste Not, and tell the story behind them?
SD: No. There is too much stuff, every time we sort, we make new discoveries. When installing Waste Not in San Francisco, we found a piece of my mother’s clothing from the 1970s it was her denim work outfit. It was shabby and covered with oil and paint. She still could not bear to throw it away. So she made it into her own jacket by sewing it inside out and covering the holes with pockets. At the opening of the exhibition I wore this jacket, and it was commented upon as being ‘cool’ and ‘fashionable’. San Francisco is where Levi jeans originated, the first working clothes made of denim. I felt she was close to me when I wore her 30 year-old denim jacket.
LS: I can’t imagine what your mother used the plastic and foam food packaging for.
SD: She used these as dishes to hold food for stray cats and dogs; she loved small animals very much.
LS: In your own life, do you uphold the principle of ‘waste not’?
SD: Yes, my home is still very simple. Our furniture is bought from flea markets. We have a sofa that cost us only 30 yuan. My wife covered it in used clothing. This made the sofa the only one of its kind in the world. From this point of view, it is expensive. I have also used an old wardrobe to make a space for sleeping and playing for my daughter, and she loves it.
LS: Say something about art!
SD: Art is in everywhere, life is art and art is life.
LS: Is there anything that you can share with our readers?
SD: Don’t waste. If you waste everything, the day will soon come when there will be nothing left.
 In October 2011, two year-old toddler Xiao Yue Yue was struck down by a van in Foshan City, Guangdong. She was left on the road to die as over 18 pedestrians walked past without stopping to help her. This tragic incident was caught on CCTV and made news around the world.