Stories from the Body #7, The Kiosk 3X6, Katoomba 2017

Call out for witnesses/participants for WeiZen’s Stories from the Body #7

Part of MAPBM 3X6 Kiosk Artist Residency, Katoomba Falls Kiosk  2017

To be part of process sessions leading up to a participatory performance-installation on opening day Sat 4th Nov 2-4pm. Together, we explore the porosity between contemporary concepts of human-object installation, performance, ritual and conversation. 

WeiZen will be using her 70-cm long hair to wipe down bodies and objects.

Tue 17th, Thur 19th, Fri 20th Oct

Tue 24th, Wed 25th, Sat 28th Oct

11am - 4pm

Witnesses/participants are asked to choose any or all of the above dates, arriving between 11am – 3pm, and be present for at least 1 hour to:

1. offer their body in whatever manner/position they are most comfortable and/or

2. bring an object that holds a memory, and/or

3. something from the earth/environment and

4. bring any length of fabric that can cover their body and objects

 

 

Background

The Stories from the Body series is an ongoing life-work which I began in 2014: The series creates a methodology to re-trace lineages that have been disrupted: myths that have been distorted, stories that have been fragmented and rituals half-remembered. One of the contributing factors to this disruption was my forebears’ migration journey from the South Fujian Province of China to Java, Singapore and Malaysia.  The second factor was language erosion over time and my parent’s need to ensure that my sister and I underwent appropriate education in a post-colonial British Muslim country, which meant that we ended up with Malay and English language literacy, with moderate fluency in the Fujian language.  Thirdly, my own migration process at the age of 12 from Melaka to Singapore, and then to New Zealand and Australia.

From the premise that all of human living is performed, I choose to activate a process of uncovering, reclaiming and reimagining through my body and its voice – my ancestral template is embedded within my physiological being.

I layer these experiences with my research into animistic and shamanistic ritual practice I have observed in South-East Asia on the past 5 years.

Stories from the Body #7 is inspired by compounded imageries, memories and customs recounted by family members:

The hair that my mother’s mother had; long and dark brown-black, up to the day she died in her sixties.  My mother related to me recently that many Chinese women in my grandmother’s generation never cut their hair.  

My mother recounted the tradition of washing the bodies of my grandparents when they died. This was carried out by my uncle who was the only family member willing and able to take responsibility for this task. My grandparents died in our extended family home in Melaka, Malaysia.

In this work, I wipe down the body of another with my hair, in the image memory of my grandmother who refused to speak during those 16 years she lived with us in Melaka. 2 days before she passed on she called each family member into her room - it was the first time she had spoken to me, her vocal chords hoarse, rusty from the lack of use...

I introduce the use of fabric, an image I retain from the Vietnamese dancing ritual, Len Dong. I witnessed several of these rituals in Hanoi during 2017 with the cultural guidance of Binh Ta, as part of a research project.  Some of the rituals lasted for 10 hours straight. Before going through each deity incarnation, the shaman would have a fabric thrown over the upper half of their body. The moment the spirit inhabits the shaman's body the fabric is lifted off...

Installation in Main Project Room

(centre in room) WeiZen Ho, Stories from the Body #7, Installation of Hair and Fabric Activated during Performances, hoop, wooden hangers, fibre hairs, fabric, 70 cm from the ceiling beam; hoop circumference 248cm, 2017 (image shows work-in-progress from process work)

Installation in Green Room (still images inserted inside stove ovens and TV slide images above stove)

Stories from the Body #7, Still Image 1, Still Image 2 (Participants: Sarah Breen-Lovett + Dot Drinkall), photography by Jacquelene Drinkall, photocopy on tracing