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05_visual poetic of embodied shame-Work No 406_visual poetic of embodied shame-Work No 407_visual poetic of embodied shame-Work No 408_visual poetic of embodied shame-Work No 4

I wrap my head in Chinese silk fabric and pose. In this work, figure and ground blend and reverse roles. A literal act of self-effacement, the body on display is nonetheless eroticized, on display as art—taking on the formal aspects of a Renaissance bust. Shame in this work is transformed to a visual symbol alive on my skin, knitting difference into identity and identity into difference, becoming signs of awareness and evidence of inability to escape.

Photo credits: Dayna Danger



Gray Zone


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20 minutes at Gray Zone for Performance Art in Kingston,  NY. April 6, 2014,photo credit: Erik Hokeson

I consistantly draw circles on my stomach while dripping silva from my covered mouth

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90 minutes at Grace Exhibition Space, Brooklyn, NY, April 4, 2014, photo credits: Miao Jiaxin

Just Another Mouth to Feed is a performance that explores visual culture of shame associated with vulnerability in its personal and socio-political dimensions. Shame is a painful feeling about oneself as a person. It is an innate human reaction rooted in childhood experience, and it is linked to sexuality and the cultural norms that regulate the body. In this performance, I create a fictional figure: a girl who wears a mouthpiece and diaper. The reason she is like that is because when she was born, she was told that she was just another mouth to feed. At her time and the place she was born, being a girl is a mistake. For her, shame is like a birthmark that she has to carry from her birth to death. In this performance, I divide her life to seven stages: Newborn, Childhood, Youth, Adult, Mid Age, Elder, and Death. She encounters and expresses different type of shame in each stage of her life.

 

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45 minutes at place-des-art, Montreal, Feb 7, 2014, Photo by Parham Yazdy

Performed by Laurence Eulalle, Stephanie Wu, Maggy Flynn, Veronique Morier, Mary Williamson, Brittney Gering, Bailey Eng, Ekaterina Kukharchuk, Lucy Fandel, Camille Brisson, Liliana Argumedo, Mira Fister-Tadic, Wing Sze Tsang-Hy, Alida Esmail, Natalie Montalvo.

Sixteen females wear red mouthpieces and white bath towels, standing in a row and facing the same direction. They repeat four still gestures: standing, kneeing, sitting, and lying on the floor. The performers hold each gesture for five minutes and then move to another gesture.

The gestures in the performance are inspired by gargoyle, a legendary stone-carved grotesque with a spout that normally is designed to convey water from a roof. Mouth serves as the opening for food intake and in the articulation of sound and speech. However, when performers wear the mouthpieces, or when women’s mouth is forced to open, the mouth loses its function. In fact, it silences and disables the women because they are unable to talk when their mouths are widely pulled open. This performance explores another side of the unseen and unspoken—the vulnerability, struggle, shame, and suffering that we are uneasy to share and expose.

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4 hours at  Nuit Blanche on March 1st, 2014, Montreal. And 3 hours  at Palais des congrès de Montréal on March 15th, 2014,  Montreal. photo by Parham Yazdy.

I set a desk and two chairs in an indoor space. I sit on a chair, and a mannequin in front of me. There is a plate of cooked rice on the desk, I use a spoon to scoop rice, put it into my month, and slowly chew it until it becomes soft and warm. And then I carefully transfer the rice from my month to the spoon, and feed the mannequin in front of me. This process is repeated until the rice on the plate is thoroughly transferred.

This performance issues communication and linguistically phenomena with minimalistic gestures. It refers that the sense of authenticity, integrity and beauty of resource language get lost in translation. The rice in this performance is a metaphor of text. I am sitting on a desk, translating a big plate of text to my reader who is devouring this plate in its translated form. My reader may understand the subject, but the quality of what he/she has consumed is definitely not the same as the original once. In fact, translating a text is like chewing up rice and then feeding it to somebody else. In performance, what I feed to people is still rice. However, this transformed rice has already lost its flavor and nutrition. It is the same in translation, clarity and fluency of source text might still be kept in a target text. However, the source text and the target text can never be the same because fidelity in translation is the root that translators strive to approach but it can never truly be reached.

The processing of eating and feeding rice to the others is a process of self-translation, a communicative situation, from one cultural context to the other.  My body in this performance is a cross-cultural mediator, rendering my experiences into the both languages. In this performance, I am not producing another original, but a reflection of difference that tailors reality and identify to suit conscious ideological needs.  What I offer is not unbiased textual fidelity, but a taste of the otherness in cultural communication.

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2 hours at Festival de théâtre de rue de Lachine, August 16th-17th, 2013, photo by Dayna Danger.

performed by Wing Sze Tsang-Hy ,Lili Monette-Crépô ,Bailey Eng ,Ekaterina Kukharchuk ,Alexandra Côté,Olivia. Faye Lathuilliere, Claire Métayer ,Simone Pitot , WhiteFeather Christie Hunter , Erin Gee, Brittney Gering, Zed Bee, Marie-Chantale Desrosiers, Dayna Danger, Beth Frey, Elise Timm-Bottos

Twelve females wear red mouthpieces and white bath towels, standing in a row and facing the same direction. They repeat three still gestures: standing, kneeing, and lying on the floor. The performers hold each gesture for five minutes and then move to another gesture.

The gestures in the performance are inspired by gargoyle, a legendary stone-carved grotesque with a spout that normally is designed to convey water from a roof. Mouth serves as the opening for food intake and in the articulation of sound and speech. However, when performers wear the mouthpieces, or when women’s mouth is forced to open, the mouth loses its function. In fact, it silences and disables the women because they are unable to talk when their mouths are widely pulled open. This performance explores another side of the unseen and unspoken—the vulnerability, struggle, shame, and suffering that we are uneasy to share and expose.

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05-Hourglass

 24 hours at INTERNATIONALES FESTIVAL FÜR PERFORMANCE, zeitraumexit e.V., Mannheim, Germany

I set two 14 inch bowls, two pairs of small brushes, and tweezers on a table. I begin painting white rice with black ink one by one until the amount of black rice equals the amount of white rice. The audiences are invited to sit down in front of me, and we work together.

“Hourglass” is a rice-based performance that examines “deterritorialization” and “disessentialization” in the Taken-for-Granted world through exploring oppositions as manifestations of fundamental existential concern in Chinese philosophy. The action of constantly painting white rice to black is a metaphor of hourglass. Sand in hourglass cannot flow without rotation as if power cannot shift without struggle. Too much power is concentrated on one side seems to be a main factor causing disharmony, confusion and dislocation, which embody on the social turbulence that we see and feel in our daily lives. In fact, power doesn’t bring growth unless we understand the essence of sharing the power.

The gesture of painting white rice to black is a political gesture, a democratic process of negotiations between citizens and established power. It reveals my desire not only to negotiate and transform everyday political life to art, but also to install a model for social transformation that possibly could create a new way to look at utopia and future. For me, political gesture doesn’t have to be radical, and process of social transformation does not have to involve violence.  In fact, it could be done through meditative way or even meditation because meditation itself is intervention: a method of protest, a strategy of negotiation and a way of speak-out. This performance is more relevant to open conversation about how to transform social and political landscapes, examining relationships between the citizens and the place they live, between what they have lost and what they have gained in the rapid changing city. This rice performance provides an opportunity for participants/ citizens to meditate their situations while working together on a mutual goal: reconfigure the established centralized power system in order to create an equal, fair and balanced world.

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