Searching for the neighborhood Research & intervention Betonsalon, Paris, France 2010
In the beginning, I found out that the houses and flats in Paris usually do not have a door bell, but can only be entered using a security code. I developed the idea of getting into one typical building in the area of the 13th district. The aim was to get an overview of how does the neighborhood look like in this area. I firstly got contact with a gentleman who had moved into 13th district just 1 year ago. With the help of a translator from Betonsalon, I did an interview with him, asking questions such as: Do you know someone in this building? or Did you visit your neighbors sometimes? Through the talk, I found out that he knows little about his neighbors and has limited connections with other residents within this building. After this first try, I changed my strategy. Waiting in front of the entrance of the same building, I talked to random people and asked the same questions as above. The outcome is then diverse and interesting. I learned that there are few connections between people by reasons of children, safety and entertainments. But in general, I got an impression that this neighborhood showed a common phenomenon in France and even the whole Europe: people (especially young people) need more private in their spare time, they enjoy the time spend with their own family except some social events.
In the final exhibition in Betonsalon, I transferred these results into a wall of information collage. Writings, text, and drawings were integrated by hand-draw facade of the target building.
PS: From the short movie of Betonsalon, a man said: this is an area that designed from the facade, not from the interiors. As a result, People learn this area also from the fancy design of the buildings; they are led to ignore peoples emotion inside these giant boxes.
Under the Shade
Interactive Performance & Video documentation
Project under the shade is a site-specific performance piece, which was created at João Cocteau gallery during the culturia residency in Berlin. The project talks about how an object such as a plant becomes the extension of my body, which also considered as a barrier between myself and the others. By confronting passersby within the shade, I am actually addressing the personal space, but yet disguising my own identity. My research is focused mainly on the various reactions from the public and the different effects of the altered objects.
The artist tried to get close enough to the others by sitting or standing next to them. She picked up several locations such as bus stops, train stations, and park benches. In this way, she collected various reactions according to the changes of space and crowd. It is common that people define their territories by occupying the space with their gesture, movement, objects and their own body. What would happen if someone crosses the line?
By following people in the street, the artist is finding the way to prove her presence with people in the public sphere. She followed people that she meet on the street and follow them until they realize and turns around. This action is in a way threatening and violent gesture to intrude peoples personal space. The situation varies under different circumstances, such as a quiet street versus a busy square.
In the street, the artist tried to block peoples way on purpose to keep them as long as possible. In this way, she got quite diverse reactions from the people who involved in this action: some people remain calm by understanding the playfulness of the action itself, some got annoyed easily and used protective gestures pushing her away.
Mapping the self – Personal space across boundaries, territories and contexts Interactive Performance & Video documentation Weimar. Germany 2011
Mapping the self is a research-based artistic project in process. It is a journey of exploring the relationship between the self and the others. During the process, the artist did a series of interactive performances in terms of non-verbal communication in various public places around the city of Weimar. The aim of this project is to push the boundaries and explore the possibilities of artistic strategies that inject into our everyday life.
WEIMAR WECKER In collaboration with Li-Shih Chen Interactive sound installation, video documentation Weimar, Germany 2009
In an interview for its geographer readers, Michel Foucault mentioned the map as an instrument of power/ knowledge. With strategical applications of measure, inquiry and examination, behind a mapping process, shaping of time and space is a structure of power.
During the research in city archive, a photo caught our attention. Therein is a smiling girl holding a row of mass-produced clocks. Each of them is labeled Weimar. That was the first, fortunate encounter with what we attempt to commemorate: Uhrenwerk Weimar, a lost mark on the city map and city history.
When we found the former site of the factory, all we can see is a colossal wall relics and vast area covered with piles of bricks and concrete lumps. The giant materiality and its timeless beauty already speak for itself, so our first act is to build an interactive sound installation. The sounds are recorded from the ticks and alarms of those old clocks, try to put the relics back into the context of time, and also connect to everyday life experience for audience.
The second act is to find and invite people who used to work there to tell their story in the factory. Imaging the depth it is supposed to dig into the life world in the city, the process took most of our time and energy. However, with participation of local people and collaboration with brilliant partners, this process becomes the most productive part of this project.
The meaning of Weimar Wecker is not limited in to wake up an alternative memory, though we do wonder why a factory could not win a visibility in public memory in proportion to such scale since it was the largest state enterprise during GDR time in Weimar.
Rather than it, we attempted to turn our sight to a more basic level that is – to wake up peoples interest of storytelling. These actions should not only be the link between the public memory and aspects of daily life in final result, but also fix in the process of history or public memory forming.