Archive: performance
Walking the length of the Great Wall of China only to break up

Walking the length of the Great Wall of China only to break up

 Marina Abramovic - The Lovers - The Great Wall Walk
Marina AbramovicThe Lovers: The Great Wall Walk (still), 1988/2008, performed for 90 days along The Great Wall of China. 16mm film transferred to two-channel video

Artists Marina Abramovic and Ulay are known in many parts of the world as the lovers whose relationship ended at the Great Wall of China. Initially, when the couple planned the trip, they intended to get married at the center of the wall. However, it was years later when the couple finally acquired all the authorization required from the Chinese government and were able to raise funds for the projected. Sadly, by then, the couple’s 12-year relationship has crumbled and what started out as a marriage celebration turned into last goodbyes for the couple. The couple had planned to be the first people to walk the entirety of the Great Wall, however, they were beaten to the punch by a Chinese railway clerk.

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Can faith move a whole mountain?

Can faith move a whole mountain?

Francis Alÿs - When Faith Moves Mountains (still), 2002, In collaboration with Cuauhtémoc Medina and Rafael Ortega. 16mm film transferred to DVD, Lima, Peru 1
Francis AlÿsWhen Faith Moves Mountains (still), 2002, In collaboration with Cuauhtémoc Medina and Rafael Ortega. 16mm film transferred to DVD, Lima, Peru

When Faith Moves Mountains or Cuando la fe mueve montañas was created by artist Francis Alÿs to explain the paradox of life; sometimes people make things that lead to nothing, while sometimes making nothing leads to remarkable things.

In this piece, Alÿs managed to persuade 500 participants made up primarily of locals situated in the outskirts of Lima to help move a hill located on the outer edge of town one shovel at a time. The 500 volunteers armed with shovels and all dressed in similar looking shirts formed a line at the bottom of a large 1600 foot (487m) sand dune. The volunteers moved sand from the dune and positioned it about 4 inches (10cm) from its original spot, therefore, creating a brand new mountain. The project was completed as part of the Third Ibero-American Biennial of Lima.

Like most of his previous works, Alÿs recorded the entire process on film, photographs and various other mediums of documentation. The project, which was undertaken in 2002, was neither earthwork nor a traditional sculpture. Additionally, no new elements were included or added to the landscape; the process of moving the hill was seen as a powerful allegory and a metaphor to represent the power of human will and community work.

One of the other objectives of this piece was to incite the multiple subjects included in the project to become storytellers with the aim of creating one communal event which would in future help to strengthen the Lima community and prove to them that faith can indeed move mountains. When the project was completed, the participants seemed grateful to be involved, which implies that the artist’s purpose was realized. The local Lima volunteers were proud of taking part in the project and they realized the project’s story worthiness.

The project documented in photographs and videos was extraordinarily impressive; however, it only served the purpose of a social parable. The action of moving the sand dune was transitory and no one could recognize that the sand had been moved from its original position the next day. The aftermath and the success of the project lay in its capacity to effectively induce conversations which allowed audiences to generate an image out of the project. The project supplied audiences with true insight and the ease of its delivery was the artist’s greatest strength.

Video

https://vimeo.com/14129166
Francis AlÿsWhen Faith Moves Mountains, 2002, In collaboration with Cuauhtémoc Medina and Rafael Ortega. 16mm film transferred to DVD, 15.01min, Lima, Peru

Video stills


Francis AlÿsWhen Faith Moves Mountains (still), 2002, In collaboration with Cuauhtémoc Medina and Rafael Ortega. 16mm film transferred to DVD, Lima, Peru

Francis Alys - When Faith Moves Mountains (still), 2002, In collaboration with Cuauhtémoc Medina and Rafael Ortega. 16mm film transferred to DVD, Lima, Peru
Francis AlÿsWhen Faith Moves Mountains (still), 2002, In collaboration with Cuauhtémoc Medina and Rafael Ortega. 16mm film transferred to DVD, Lima, Peru

Francis Alys - When Faith Moves Mountains (still), 2002, In collaboration with Cuauhtémoc Medina and Rafael Ortega. 16mm film transferred to DVD, Lima, Peru
Francis AlÿsWhen Faith Moves Mountains (still), 2002, In collaboration with Cuauhtémoc Medina and Rafael Ortega. 16mm film transferred to DVD, Lima, Peru

Francis Alys - When Faith Moves Mountains (still), 2002, In collaboration with Cuauhtémoc Medina and Rafael Ortega. 16mm film transferred to DVD, Lima, Peru
Francis AlÿsWhen Faith Moves Mountains (still), 2002, In collaboration with Cuauhtémoc Medina and Rafael Ortega. 16mm film transferred to DVD, Lima, Peru


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The million-dollar broken vase – Ai Weiwei

The million-dollar broken vase – Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei - Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn, 1995, Second panel of the triptych

Ai Weiwei - Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn, 1995
Ai WeiweiDropping a Han Dynasty Urn, 1995

The return of Ai Weiwei to China after living in New York City for more than a decade marked the beginning of a new form of art. No one knew all long he was thinking about the themes of transformation and destruction. He embarked on collecting ancient vessels with the aim of converting them into contemporary art pieces. Some people viewed this act as a way of collaborating with the ancient artists’ work, but some argued that it was misappropriating the artists’ work without their approval. This act provoked emotions since the urns were considered a form of consumer culture and heritage preservation, especially since he dropped it intentionally.

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Exhausting performance: Artist carries stone for 112 days

Exhausting performance: Artist carries stone for 112 days

He Yunchang - The Rock Tours Around Great Britain, 2006-07 1
He YunchangThe Rock Tours Around Great Britain, 2006-07

Chinese performance artist He Yunchang has been using his body as the main prop in his art pieces. His performances are often hard on endurance, and he has to go to the extremes to showcase his might.

On 23 September 2006, he collected a beach rock that was the size of a shoe at the Beach of Boulmer, located at the Northumberland Cost of England. The piece weighed about 3.6 kilograms. He then walked with the boulder at hand and sometimes ran with it around the perimeter of Great Britain.

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One of the most disgusting performance pieces ever made

One of the most disgusting performance pieces ever made

Zhang Huan - 12M2, 1994, documentation of a 40-minute performance
Zhang Huan12 Square Meters, 1994, single channel video, 3min 2sec, documentation of a 40-minute performance

Zhang Huan is no stranger to controversy. Having attended school at a time when China was undergoing a dramatic time in its history, Zhang learned a lot from the years of protests and demonstrations that would be staged in front of the Tiananmen Square in Beijing. As an avid fan of Avant-garde art, Zhang did not really have adequate resources at his disposal that would allow him to execute his artistic vision. As such, and not surprisingly, Zhang decided to change the way he expressed himself by adopting a more provocative and transgressive form of performance art, which was later photographed and documented.

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Why are these golden balloons all over Taipei?

Why are these golden balloons all over Taipei?

Silence Was Golden, Balloon - Taipei, Taiwan - Eslite Spectrum Songyan - Snobs
Silence Was GoldenSnobs, Eslite Spectrum Songyan

In 2015, Public Delivery collaborated with the Taipei Museum of Contemporary Art, Taiwan’s first museum to be dedicated exclusively to contemporary art and one of the most prominent art institutions of Asia. Silence Was Golden is our on-going global public art project which is centered around words or short phrases made out of golden letter shaped balloons, chosen by performers to express their feelings towards their environment and the histories surrounding it. Words were collected through an open call, and then performed together with a variety of people, including students from Tainan National University of the Arts, National Taiwan Normal University, Tamkang University and Taipei Jingmei Girls High School in different locations all over Taipei.

Up until now, the project was performed 253 times in 1/4 of the world’s countries (179 cities, 48 countries, six continents).

Silence Was Golden, Balloon - Taipei, Taiwan - Huashan Creative Park - Anxious
Silence Was GoldenAnxious, Huashan Creative Park

Silence Was Golden, Balloon - Taipei, Taiwan - Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall - Boss
Silence Was GoldenBoss, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall

Silence Was Golden, Balloon - Taipei, Taiwan - Bitan Suspension Bridge - Date
Silence Was GoldenDate, Bitan Suspension Bridge

Silence Was Golden, Balloon - Taipei, Taiwan - Xindian ghost house - Fear
Silence Was GoldenFear, Xindian ghost house

Silence Was Golden, Balloon - Taipei, Taiwan - 228 Peace Memorial Park - Hustle
Silence Was GoldenHustle, 228 Peace Memorial Park

Silence Was Golden, Balloon - Taipei, Taiwan - Museum of Contemporary Art - Noisy
Silence Was GoldenNoisy, Museum of Contemporary Art

Silence Was Golden, Balloon - Taipei, Taiwan - Elephant Mountain - Nose
Silence Was GoldenNose, Elephant Mountain

Silence Was Golden, Balloon - Taipei, Taiwan - Guang Hua Night Market - Savour
Silence Was GoldenSavour, Guang Hua Night Market

Silence Was Golden, Balloon - Taipei, Taiwan - Xindian, Bitan tea house - Tea
Silence Was GoldenTea, Bitan tea house

Silence Was Golden, Balloon - Taipei, Taiwan - Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall - Temple
Silence Was GoldenTemple, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

Map of balloon performances in Taipei, Taiwan
Map of balloon performances


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This is not the Ice Bucket Challenge

This is not the Ice Bucket Challenge

Khvay Samnang - Rubber Man, 2015
Khvay SamnangRubber Man, 2015, 3 HD videos, color, 3min 36s, 3min 29s, 3min 54s

Poetry speaks directly to the soul and when words are not enough to portray a message, the different dimensions as used in poetic language carry on with the communication. This is what is happening in Rubber Mann, a 2015 series of videos that is focused at highlighting the effects of rubber farming in Cambodia. There is no doubt that industrialisation drives an economy forward but with it comes adverse pressure on natural resources. In 1922, the Cambodian national government consented to the establishment of a rubber plantation that would be taken up by colonial powers. Today, this agreement still holds but at the expense of the country’s natural resources.

This is the backdrop on which Khvay Samnang, a Cambodian multimedia artist produced Rubber Man. It is his belief that for the relevant stakeholders to take action to mitigate this environmental imbalance, people must first see how damaging the outcome is.

The Cambodian province Rattanakiri has been in the local and international news for all the bad reasons, land grabs and land related protests and this is the location in which the video was filmed. For a period of over two years, Khvay Samnang spent most of his time in the area. Rubber Man is meant to be a symbolic gesture of futile efforts at conserving the environment. He practices the futile gestures as a demonstration of what more needs to be done to bring about significant change.

Over the course of the video, the stage changes and each time takes on a depleted picture from the previous. As the main character continues to pour liquid rubber on himself, the effects of his actions are reflected in the changing face of the surroundings. The fact that he is naked throughout the performance is proof that environmental stability controls not only food availability but clothing as well.

Of even greater concern to the actor is the destroyed dwelling place for the spirits, which in ancient times resided in the forests. While it is important that the message of the video is clearly understood, the incorporation of humor makes it even more captivating. Born in 1982, in Cambodia, Khvay Samnang picked up this creative style of performance from his involvement in photography, video, and performing arts. All this experience under his belt coupled with media sources, personal experience and hearsay, his intention is to find answers to unresolved stories for the interest of the people who need intervention.

Khvay Samnang - Rubber Man, 2015
Khvay SamnangRubber Man, 2015, 3 HD videos, color, 3min 36s, 3min 29s, 3min 54s

Khvay Samnang - Rubber Man, 2015
Khvay SamnangRubber Man, 2015, 3 HD videos, color, 3min 36s, 3min 29s, 3min 54s

Khvay Samnang - Rubber Man, 2015
Khvay SamnangRubber Man, 2015, 3 HD videos, color, 3min 36s, 3min 29s, 3min 54s

Khvay Samnang - Rubber Man, 2015
Khvay SamnangRubber Man, 2015, 3 HD videos, color, 3min 36s, 3min 29s, 3min 54s


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