Overlap is a situation-inspired performance for "The Month of May", a series of exhibitions and performances in New York City, coordinated by Margaret Lee. Liam Everett curated a weekend of performances which includes our work. We wanted to respond to the specific space where the performance takes place—an abandoned office on the second floor of a commercial building on Canal Street in Chinatown. Using the vacant office as our starting point we decided to approach the architecturally challenging space in personal terms. Overlap continues our explorations of respective movement but this time we are conjoined and working with the backdrop of a vernacular-specific environment.
Fragile: Handle with Care started as a postcard mailing project. I sent several hundred postcards to people throughout the world. The card contained an image of myself wearing only a red "Fragile: Handle with Care" sticker across my chest. I later developed a durational performance, by the same title, in which I invited twelve people from all walks of life to display themselves in the context of a gallery. "Fragile: Handle with Care" stickers are used in our everyday lives as a reminder to be cautious while moving and shipping delicate items. I use this label to remind us of our human fragility, which is carried with us as we travel through this world, as parcels on a journey towards our final destination.
Fragile: Handle with Care - ICA
made in taiwan
projected bar-code, recorded sound, 1999
Encountering mass-produced products labeled "Made in Taiwan"--in the context of the United States--inspired this performance. Made in Taiwan has become a connection, a connotation for home. It has signified the sense of closeness and nostalgia. I am trying to glorify and honor the label "Made in Taiwan" by displaying myself as a product of Taiwan. Instead of the idea of cheap badly-made stuff that might arise when people see the label "Made in Taiwan," my motivation was to express a sense of pride for my Taiwanese heritage.
color theory: lesson one
shredded English and Chinese newspaper, projected images, music by Kevin Volans, 2000
When an individual's linguistic and sociological environment is radically altered, a different set of values, expectations, and logic emerges. One's sense of the norm and the absolute are challenged. I have often felt foreign in both western and eastern society. This performance is derived from a sense of in-between-ness in my life. The migratory and transient nature of my existence has influenced my way of living, thinking, and working.
Ling-Ling: Asian Friend of Barbie
life-size doll box and accessory, 1999
I use Barbie, one of the ideal female iconography in American popular culture, to symbolize the social and geographical context that I situated myself in, and Ling-Ling, the Asian friend of Barbie, as a stereotypical representation of Asian female. The doll box functions as a vehicle of the migration from Asia to the United States. The change of one's locale has made one become exotic or the other. The question of exoticism and the sense of alienation and displacement were the inspiration for this performance.