The Lost Twelves Years (III)
Performance: 20 minutes at Tuck Contemporary Art, part of M:ST Performative Art Festival, 2014, Calgary, Canada
I stand on a traditional Chinese painting, holding a bowl of water. There are a teapot and water gun beside the painting. I pinch my forehead with water untill there is a dark red dot appears. I use a porcelain spoon to scratch my neck firmly until a dark red line appears from my lower chin to upper chest.I lift the teapot and pour ink from the teapot to create a line on my arched back. After the ink was gone, I straighten my back and suddenly shake my head; the teapot smashes to pieces. I lift the gun, point to my head and shoot, and then I point to my heart and shoot. at the beginning, the shooting is gentle and slow, and then it become faster and faster. The actions of shooting my head and heart are repeated until the ink in the water gun runs out.
“The Lost Twelve Years” examines the relationships between where I live, what I have lost, and what I have gained as a racial minority. The piece is a ritual meditation, as the ink traditionally used as an artistic tool is used as a weapon upon myself. The gestures I perform are political gestures, an apology for my twelve-year absence and shows a desire for me to renew my lost tradition and culture. Through the piece, I attempt to preserve my identity from self-transformation and self-assimilation.
photo credit: Tanya Doody