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Posts Tagged ‘Chinese Culture’

Chun Hua Catherine Dong shot herself with ink at St Mark's Basilica in Venice Biennale 2013Chun Hua Catherine Dong shot herself with ink at St Mark's Basilica in Venice Biennale 2013The-Lost-Twelve-Years-Chun-Hua-Catherine-Dong-02The-Lost-Twelve-Years-Chun-Hua-Catherine-Dong-06The-Lost-Twelve-Years-Chun-Hua-Catherine-Dong-04The-Lost-Twelve-Years-Chun-Hua-Catherine-Dong-08

2o minutes at St Mark’s Basilica, May31, 2013, Infr’ Action Venezia Performance Festival

I kneel on a piece of traditional Chinese Ink Wash Painting without clothing, holding a water gun in my right hand. The gun is filled with black ink. I lift the gun, point to my head and shoot. And then I lift the gun again, this time, I 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.

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Chun Hua Catherine Dong painted her body red and wore diaper, living with strangers hired from Craigslist in a red room as their child. Chun Hua Catherine Dong is laying on the floor like a hopeless babyChun Hua Catherine Dong painted her body red and wore diaper, living with strangers hired from Craigslist in a red room as their child. Chun Hua Catherine Dong is sitting on her parents' back like a ghost childChun Hua Catherine Dong painted her body red and wore diaper, living with strangers hired from Craigslist in a red room as their child. Chun Hua Catherine Dong is sitting on her father's lap like a giant unhappy babyChun Hua Catherine Dong painted her body red and wore diaper, living with strangers hired from Craigslist in a red room as their child. Chun Hua Catherine Dong is fed by her fatherRed-Baby-Chun-Hua-Catherine-Dong-06Red-Baby-Chun-Hua-Catherine-Dong-01Chun Hua Catherine Dong painted her body red and wore diaper, living with strangers hired from Craigslist in a red room as their child. the red baby is having bedtime story

Red Baby consists of 30 staged photographs depicting a family of mixed race parents and a child. I painted my body red, wearing a diaper and fake mouthpiece, and I lived with strangers hired from Craigslist for eight hours in a red room, as their child. They were asked to feed me, play with me, pamper and take care of me. In this work, the “red baby” is a symbol for contemporary China, caught between east and west. The baby, symbolic of both communist and capitalist influences, is also a future model for social transformation, imagining a new utopia.

photo by Dayna Danger, performed by Wing Sze Tsang-Hy, Peter Meritzis

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Chun Hua Catherine Dong's work, Husbands and I installation at Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery in 2012. She covered all of her photographs with red fabric, viewers has to lift up the curtains and see the photographsChun Hua Catherine Dong's work, Husbands and I installation at Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery in 2012. She covered all of her photographs with red fabric, viewers has to lift up the curtains and see her husbandsChun Hua Catherine Dong's work, Husbands and I installation, at Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery in 2012. Chun Hua Catherine Dong also stayed on her bed in the gallery for 60 hours to invite audiences to come to her bed to sleep with her or chatChun Hua Catherine Dong's work, Husbands and I installation, at Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery in 2012. Chun Hua Catherine Dong also stayed on her bed in the gallery for 60 hours to invite audiences to come to her bed to sleep with her or chatan audience came to Chun Hua Catherine Dong's bed and chatted with her when she stayed on her bed for 60 hours as part of her Husbands and I exhbition at Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery in 2012Husbands-and-I-Chun-Hua-Catherine-Dong-13Chun Hua Catherine Dong's work, Husbands and I installation, at Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery in 2012. Chun Hua Catherine Dong covered all of her photographs with red fabric, viewers has to lift up the curtains and see the photographs

performance: 60 hours, May 17-June 2, 2012, in The  Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery

installation: video, digital prints, curtains, photo albums, bed, side tables, lamps and body

during the exhibition, i lay on a bed 60 hours in the gallery, inviting audience to come to my bed to chat and sleep with me.

I started the Husbands and I performance in 2009; I wore my Chinese traditional dress, walking on streets in Vancouver and asking white males to have photo taken with me by suggesting them to be my husband for a minute. I have had photo with 325 men. In September 2010, I advertised myself in various media as “an exotic, compliant and artistic Asian girl, looking for a white husband who would like to take me to his home and live with him for a day as his mail order bride.” I lived with men who responded my advertise a day. This performance ended in June 2011.

I emigrated from China to Canada several years ago. I regard the whole process of immigration as a marriage, and myself is like a mail order bride. I married Canada that I had never seen before, suddenly transforming myself from a Chinese to a Chinese Canadian or Canadian. My identity is not constructed by Canadian history, its culture or its beautiful landscapes, but the white males who are beside me.  The physical encounter between me and the white males actually is an ideological confrontation between me and the Western social and political landscape that I live in but don’t belong to. The process looking for a white man is a process of looking for home. However, unfortunately, the home is temporary and the relationship is ephemeral. Nevertheless, by exploring intimacy with them, I try to not only reconfigure the established centred power that the privileged white males embody, but also question whether the culturally interpreted Chinese female body, both as a foreign subject and object, can be invested and exploited, most importantly, question whether the concept of the borders still exists although physical borderline is crossed.

In an era of globalization and transnational migration, contact between cultures has given rise to pluralized and hybrid cultures. While celebrating and embracing this cultural hybridity, as an Asian Canadian, I have turned my attention to racialized individuals and minority groups, especially Asian women living in North America. Even though the world is constantly changing, the representation of Asian women doesn’t seem to change much in context of Western culture. In fact, the experience of the Asian women as enmeshed, to different degrees, with pre-existing visual representations of Orientalism and stereotyping is still normalized in modern Western culture. This situation results in a state of doubled oppression for Asian women—there is oppression both from within their own cultural communities, and oppression from external expectations relating to women of colour. This double oppression demands a performative cultural expression of racialized people according to both external and internal pressures, often resulting in a metaphorical silencing of the unique individual.

Wearing a Chinese traditional dress and acting as stereotype of an Asian woman in Western fascination might be regarded as self-essentialization, which conveys negative implication. However, this self-essentialization is not a self-generalization or self- generalizing my own Chinese essential attributes, but a self-consciousness of collectivity which is thinking the essence of my groups with awareness of the social relations and my own situation. As a result, it is a strategy. As a strategy, this self-essentialization is a political choice, a choice of deliberately acting out on culture. It is a social performance, a performance that creates a culture of resistance because in doing so the resistances can be recognized.

 

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Everywhere-and-All-at-Once-Chun-Hua-Catherine-Dong-03Everywhere-and-All-at-Once-Chun-Hua-Catherine-Dong-04Everywhere-and-All-at-Once-Chun-Hua-Catherine-Dong-02

Video Installation at Emily Carr University, 2010

“Everywhere and All at Once” is a loop video projected on a 3’ x 4’ table. This video reveals four people, two males and two females, all wearing red nail polish and playing mahjong. The viewers are encouraged to sit on the chairs to experience the installation.

In this video installation, I am trying to blur gender boundaries through providing a communicating environment for viewers to experience new roles both in virtual and reality in a playful way. Because the viewers are encouraged to engage this piece by sitting on the chairs, they become extensions of this installation and the game players as well. However, the viewers might pause for a moment to think about which chairs they supposed to sit, which chairs they belong to, or which players they want to be. Nevertheless, no matter the viewers are males or females, (or perhaps we all have a little male or female inside), they all ultimately unite into the players in the video and become one.

Chun Hua Catherine Dong©2010

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Chun Hua Catherine Dong leaks rice from her bag while having conversation withe people in a gallery in Vancouver. She stops leaking rice when their conversation is over.

Chun Hua Catherine Dong leaks rice from her bag while having conversation withe people in a gallery in Vancouver. She stops leaking rice when their conversation is over.Chun Hua Catherine Dong leaks rice from her bag while having conversation withe people in a gallery in Vancouver. She stops leaking rice when their conversation is over.Chun Hua Catherine Dong leaks rice from her bag while having conversation withe people in a gallery in Vancouver. She stops leaking rice when their conversation is over.

3 hours at  Nomad Art Gallery, Vancouver, 2010

i carry a bag with rice, walking in a gallery and approaching an audience to have a conversation. when the conversation starts, the rice leaks from my bag. when the conversation is over, the rice stops leaking. And then i move to another audience, the action repeats.

photo credit: Bitshere

 

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Chun Hua Catherine Dong invitred audiences to shoot her naked body with riceChun Hua Catherine Dong invited audiences to shoot her naked body with riceChun Hua Catherine Dong invitred audiences to shoot her naked body with riceChun Hua Catherine Dong invited audiences to shoot her naked body with riceChun Hua Catherine Dong invited audiences to shoot her naked body with rice

performed at SPREAD openning at Chapel Arts, June 3, 2011

duration: one and half an hour

photo by Chad Durnford

I stand against a white wall in a gallery space. There are two bags of rice with a description on the floor right in front of me. Audiences are encouraged to shoot my naked body with rice outside of yellow tape. This action will be repeated until the rice is gone.

After living inCanada for eight year, I realized that there is urgency for me to renew my lost tradition and culture. In the early 2010, I started to use rice to create a series of performances to explore oppositions as manifestations of fundamental existential concern in Chinese philosophy. “The Invalid Testimony” is the fifth one in the rice performance series. This series is not only a ritual meditation, but also an opening conversation, examining relationships between me and the place I live, between what I have lost and what I have gained as a racial minority. However, in “The Invalid Testimony,” I turn the ritual to a battle. The rice that has nurtured me in my whole life becomes a weapon to against myself.  It seems that the only way I regain what I have lost is through surrender.

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I am an exotic, compliant and artistic

Asian girl, looking for A WHITE HUSBAND

who would like to take me to his home

and live with him for a day as his mail order bride.

if you think it would be an interesting experience,

please contact me at

artistintheworld@hotmail.com


photo by Bernie Lee

I started the Husbands and I performance in 2009; I wore my Chinese traditional dress, walking on streets in Vancouver and asking white males to have photo taken with me by suggesting them to be my husband for a minute. I have had photo with 325 men. In September 2010, I advertised myself in various media as “an exotic, compliant and artistic Asian girl, looking for a white husband who would like to take me to his home and live with him for a day as his mail order bride.” I lived with men who responded my advertise a day. This performance ended in June 2011.

I emigrated from China to Canada eight years ago. I regard the whole process of immigration as a marriage, and myself is like a mail order bride. I married Canada that I had never seen before, suddenly transforming myself from a Chinese to a Chinese Canadian or Canadian. My identity is not constructed by Canadian history, its culture or its beautiful landscapes, but the white males who are beside me.  The physical encounter between me and the white males actually is an ideological confrontation between me and the Western social and political landscape that I feel I don’t belong to. The process looking for a white man is a process of looking for home. However, unfortunately, the home is temporary and the relationship is ephemeral. Nevertheless, by exploring intimacy with them, I try to not only reconfigure the established centred power that the privileged white males embody, but also question whether the culturally interpreted Chinese female body, both as a foreign subject and object, can be invested and exploited, most importantly, question whether the concept of the borders still exists although physical borderline is crossed.

Read Full Post »

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