I Have Been There – Los Angeles

Performance & Photograph: Los Angeles, 2017

 

Chun Hua Catherine Dong is lying in front of famous iconic Urban Lights at LACMA in Los Angeles

Chun Hua Catherine Dong  is lying in front of Hollywood Sign

Chun Hua Catherine Dong  is lying in front of TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood

Chun Hua Catherine Dong  is lying in front of flying stone at LACMA in Los Angele

Chun Hua Catherine Dong  buries herself at Staricandy stairs at Silver Park in Los Angeles

Chun Hua Catherine Dong  buries herself at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles

Chun Hua Catherine Dong  buries herself at The Broad Museum in Los Angeles

Chun Hua Catherine Dong  is lying in front of  The Hollywood Walk of Fame

“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: Elaine Thap