Think about biting into a pocket of steamed or pan-fried dough, expecting to experience a juicy, flavorful mouthful of tender meat and vegetables with just the right balance of seasonings. Instead, the dough pocket is empty and all you get is the dough – flat, glutinous, dry, bland. How disappointing!
Now move your mind’s eye to a painting. As you look at it, you expect to see details, texture, colors and forms in dynamic relationship to each to other. You want to feast your eyes as they are pulled to travel around the painting’s surface, stopping here and there to absorb a bright spot of color, a dense area of texture, a dancing line, variable shapes that communicate with each other, a provocative open space. Instead, you see a flat two-dimensional presentation – no dynamism in its composition, only a small amount of detail, minimal texture, minor contrast between the elements, no particular focal point of interest, a sameness of tone.
Such a work is bland and disappointing instead of stimulating of the emotions and thoughts. It has nothing to say, leaving you with nothing to celebrate, nothing to draw out an enthusiastic response. In a word, it is uninspiring and unexceptional, forgettable because it is not worthy of time or consideration.
When you look at a piece of art or eat a dumpling, you want inner excitement, dreams of other experiences real or imagined, a frisson of stimulation, an opportunity to connect to the artist’s mind and heart. The creator has something to say, and the consumer wants to receive the message – they want to communicate over time and place and meet in the place of perceiving the art work and consuming the dumpling.