Being is a Crime
Performance : 3 days at Infr’ Action Venezia Performance Festival, Venice, 2013
I wear a military suit and a red underwear, kneeling on a washboard and keeping straight and still as long as I can. This performance explores vulnerability in ritualistic humiliation in performance through reconfiguring historical iconic image of the Red Guard in the Chinese Cultural Revolution.
The Chinese Cultural Revolution is a social-political movement that took place in the China from 1966 to 1976. The Red Guard is a specific group of high school and university students, formed under the Chinese Communist Party, who dedicated themselves to the wheel of the Revolution. They abandoned their studies and schools, marched across China in a campaign to eradicate the “ Four Olds” of society: the old ideas, cultures, manners, and customs. However, these attacks on culture quickly descended into attacks on people. These young revolutionary rebels caused havoc, resulting in great destruction and considerable loss of life. In some degree, they were victims and murders at the same time.
It is tragedy that neither the government nor Red Guards apologize to the victims in the Revolution. It seems that it was a period that many would prefer to forget. Maybe the only way for China to recover its humanity is to re-examine the Cultural Revolution and the Red Guard phenomenon. In my performance, the humiliation is used as a method of interrogation to seek altered states of consciousness that probably leads to salvation. It aims to add a voice in this re-examination of history within a performance art context that possibly opens more questions and discussions, most importantly, to seek justice and justification.
photo courtesy of the artist