Silent Participant is not Silent

Performance: 60 minutes at Concourse Gallery, Vancouver, 2010


Chun Hua Catherine Dong  calls herself  a silent participant, she holds her fist, looks at audience who pokes her with angry looks in her eyes

Chun Hua Catherine Dong stands on a plinth and holds her fist,  when the viewers use a boom microphone to inspect my body, sharp sounds will occur

Chun Hua Catherine Dong doesn't care when audience makes fun of her, she looks away, but sharp sounds from her chest speaks out for her, she is not a silent participant at all

Chun Hua Catherine Dong asks audiences to use a boom microphone to inspect her body, when the boom microphone is close to her chest, sharp sounds occur, which breaks the silence

I stand still on a plinth, holding a fan. There are three distance sensors are carefully embedded on my dress. when audiences use a boom microphone to point my body, sharp sounds occur. When audiences point to me, I sometimes engage with them with direct eye contact, sometimes I don’t look at them at all.  Silence is a sound that needs to be heard. Silence is meditation that needs to be read, Silence is also the intervention of crowd that needs to be seen. Silent doesn’t mean voiceless; if we don’t speak out, it doesn’t mean we don’t care. Silent Participant is a term that I have used to describe Chinese living in the West who are often accused of having no opinions, of being indifferent to any politics, and of often sticking in their own ethnic groups. The silent participants are groups of visible minorities, often invisible but needing to be understood.

photo courtesy of the artist