A place to Hang-out, Ink on Rice paper, Yan Huang Museum, Beijing, China 2016
Ink Me In Beijng was a full day performance. By creating a jacket out of rice paper, based on the original design of a 唐装 Tang Dynasty men's coat, I began by walking through an ancient Beijing neighbourhood (Jingshan Park
景山公园) with an ink bowl, brush and blind enthusiasm. My poor Mandarin made it a challenge to approach passers-by and asked them to write on me.
The performance Ink Me in Beijing was about testing transgressions of body, language and culture. Walking through the central and oldest area of Beijing (close to government offices) with a bowl of ink and brush, I encouraged passers-by to write or draw on me. In China, everyone of all ages knows how to write with ink, making it easy for anyone to write on me as a human billboard.
My performance bordered on the absurd — it helped me earn the trust and awe of passers-by. An oddly dressed foreigner seemed too irresistible not to engage. It is important to note that demonstrations, public protests or postering/signage of any kind in China (especially Beijing) requires government-sanctioned permits. Public expression in most forms in China is frowned upon. After the performance, conversations were held with other artists to discuss the issue of public performance in China. People writing on me pushed the boundaries of what is legal, and though was not the sole intent of the work, was a very important aspect.