During my past five years of studying in the U.S., I often felt displaced and disconnected from my home and culture. The longer has I lived far from home, the more I have felt nostalgic about my childhood and teenage years in China. I was born and raised in Shenyang, a northeastern city of China. I grew up seeing traditional Qing architectures, such as the Mukden Palace and Zhao Mausoleum. I remember standing beneath the roof of Zhao Mausoleum when I was little, looking up to the complex structured cornice. The cornice was sharp and upturned like a sword cutting up the sky. While I was standing under the roof, I felt safe and protected. Now I am far from home, by building my traditional Chinese cornice, I created a safe space for my nostalgia and memories. By holding up the cornice on my shoulders, I am also carrying the weight of my culture and longing for home. By standing at a corner of contemporary American architecture with the traditional Chinese cornice on my shoulders, I try to create a safe space for myself in the chaos of time and space.
“Take me with you: a human backpack” 2017, an interactive performance.
Testing people’s reactions and behaviors when encountering other’s vulnerability. This piece is a literal interpretation of the act of putting other’s’ weight on one’s shoulder. For the viewers, the abstract idea of taking responsibility for other’s emotional baggage is displayed in concrete visual forms.
A metaphor of being washed by the passage of time. As the performance starts, I walk under the hidden dripping cloth. The black ink drips on to my body rhythmically, leaving long black traces on my skin as every second carving into me.