20 minutes at Phi Centre, Montreal, as part of Encuentros 2014–Choreographing Social Movements in the Americas, June 24, 2014, photo credit: Christian Bujold
I stand on a piece of traditional Chinese Ink Wash Painting, pouring ink from the teapot from my head on my back. After the ink was gone, I suddenly shake my head; the teapot drops on the floor and smashed 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 action of shooting at my head and heart will be repeated 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 to reproduce the appearance of the subject, but to be used as a weapon against myself. this performance examines relationships between me and the place I live, between what I have lost and what I have gained. 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.