The Lost Twelve Years (II)
Performance: 20 minutes at MANIFEST! Choreographing Social Movements in the Americas Conference, PHI Centre, Montreal,2014
I stand on a piece of traditional Chinese Ink Wash Painting, pouring ink from the teapot from my head to my arched back to create a line. After the ink iss gone, I suddenly shake my head; the teapot drops on the floor and smashes to pieces. I knee on the painting, lift a water gun on the floor, point to my head and shoot, and then point to my heart and shoot. The actions of shooting at my head and heart are repeated with rhythms until the ink on the water gun runs out.
After living aboard as a Chinese for 12 years, I noticed there is a tremendous change inside me: something that has nurtured and cultivated me has gradually faded and forgotten. The gesture of shooting myself with ink is a political gesture. It is not only an apology for my twelve-year absence but also a manifestation that reveals my urgent needs to renew my lost tradition and culture. The ink is an essential material for Chinese traditional painting and calligraphy. In my performance, the ink is not to be used as an artistic tool, but to be used as a weapon against myself. this performance examines relationships between where I live, what I have lost, and what I have gained as a Chinese living aboard. This performance is also a ritual meditation. In this suicidal ritual, I baptize myself with Chinese ink in order to be saved from fear of loss, preserve my identity from the process of self-transformation, and to capture my stray soul in a foreign land.
photo credit: Christian Bujold