I Have Been There – Houston

Performance & Photograph: Houston, 2017

 

Each time Chun Hua Catherine Dong travels to a new city, she takes photographs of herself lying in front of historical cites or tourist attractions, covered with a duvet.

Each time Chun Hua Catherine Dong travels to a new city, she takes photographs of herself lying in front of historical cites or tourist attractions, covered with a duvet.

Each time Chun Hua Catherine Dong travels to a new city, she takes photographs of herself lying in front of historical cites or tourist attractions, covered with a duvet.

Each time Chun Hua Catherine Dong travels to a new city, she takes photographs of herself lying in front of historical cites or tourist attractions, covered with a duvet.

Each time Chun Hua Catherine Dong travels to a new city, she takes photographs of herself lying in front of historical cites or tourist attractions, covered with a duvet.

“I have been There,” is an on-going performance that explores relationship between death and diaspora/displacement. Every time I travel to a city, I make a new duvet with Chinese silk brocade fabric. Covered by the duvet, I photograph myself lying on ground of historical sites as a sign of resistance, a form of solidarity, and a way of negotiating cultures and spaces.

This work is inspired by funeral tradition in my hometown in China. When an elder is dead, daughters of the elder make duvets with silk fabric, called Corpse Covers, to cover their dead parent’s body. For me, as a person living aboard without family, the question of who will bury me when I die bothers me sometimes. Therefore, I make my own Corpse Covers and bury myself publicly and repeatedly in different places.

Although this project is influenced by Chinese funeral ritual, the major trigger to make this work is global migrant crisis and the increasing border control and anti-immigrant policies in West. As a person who is part of the immigration community but able to travel most countries without a VISA, I feel deeply responsible to make a work to respond this issue. I started this project in 2015, I have buried myself in different places in cities in America and Europe.

Photo credit: Unna Bettie