I Have Been There – San Luis Obispo

Performance & Photograph, San Luis Obispo, 2017

 

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Chun Hua Catherine Dong is lying in front of Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa

Chun Hua Catherine Dong is lying in a golf course in San Luis Obispo

Chun Hua Catherine Dong is sleeping in front of Morro Rock in San Luis Obispo

Chun Hua Catherine Dong is lying in front of Morro Bay in San Luis Obispo

Chun Hua Catherine Dong is lying in front of Bubblegum Alley in San Luis Obispo

I have been There” is an on-going performance photograph 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 document myself lying on historical sites and tourist attractions as a sign of resistance, a form of solidarity, and a way to negotiate and/or engage with culture and space.

This work is inspired by funeral tradition from my hometown in China. When an elder is dead, daughters of this elder make duvets, called Corpse Covers, to cover their dead parent’s body. If this elder has six daughter, his/her body will be covered by six different duvets, layer by layer. As a person who lives aboard alone without family, the question of who will bury me after I die sometimes bothers me. Therefore, I make my own Corpse Covers and bury myself publicly and repeatedly on places I really want to visit. When the real death comes, I probably won’t be afraid of it anymore. This project started in 2015. I have performed in London, Manchester, Paris, Los Angles, Santiago, Toronto, Boston, Houston, Chicago, Miami, Manizales, Edmonton, San Luis Obispo, and so on.

photo credit: Luke Mannarino