A Pink River
Category: performance art
Time: 8 Mar. 19.00, 2018
Duration: around 1 hour
Performed at Manifestation Against Sexism 2018 (Mars tegen Seksisme 2018) in Gent, Belgium
Photograph: Okky Oki, Sara De Vuyst
Video: Lennart Soberon
Lighting and assistant：Cathy
At 7 pm, March 8, 2018, I arrived at the central plaza of Gent, Belgium with my big suitcase normally for international travels. After several days of rain, there was a splendid sunset but also fierce wind running around the city. In half an hour, the biggest annual manifestation against sexism of this city would depart under the roof of a pavilion of the city hall.
I started to unpack my suitcase in the middle of one entrance of the pavilion. I took out a tablecloth from the suitcase and put it on the floor, and then put many of my stuff on it, such as toiletries, cosmetics, candles and some Chinese convenience foods. More and more people came and passed by me, most of them were women, including socialist activists, feminist fighters, and lesbians. In front of them, I started to put some make-up on my face, as if I was in my bedroom. After that, I ate some Chinese pickles with a toast, and then put on my pajamas, slept with a panda toy with all the messy stuff around me.
At about 19.30, the place was already full of people, holding diverse slogans and flags for women’s rights. The leader of the manifestation began to spoke loudly on the stage to encourage people to do actions together. I ‘woke up” by the sound, and started to draw out a piece of narrow pink cloth from my suitcase, unfolded it and put it on the ground. Soon, the people there found surprisingly that an Asian woman was spreading a seemingly endless piece of cloth in the middle of the crowd, which compulsively divided them into two sides. Some women helped me to spread the cloth friendly. After a long way squeezing among people, I set the “end” of the cloth somewhere near the stage, so the cloth became like a long “red carpet” in a ceremony.
Right after, I ran back to the suitcase, took out some flashy clothes and put them on to begin a “fashion show” on the “carpet”! For ex. I wore some traditional Chinese style clothes, and lifted a Chinese lantern over my head, with a background music of the “Victoria's Secret Fashion Show”. I walked several times go and back on the cloth, and gradually I removed more and more layers of clothes, until just some “sexy” summer clothes left.
During my performance, some people have noticed that there was some text written on the two sides of the pink cloth, but more people only concentrated on the shouting from the leader on the stage. Below is the text on the cloth:
I'm a woman
I work like man
But I don't get the same
I'm a woman
I sleep with man
But I deserve my own place”
“I'm a woman
I'm made in China
But I'm not cheap
I'm a woman
I like shopping
But I'm not a commodity
After a while, the crowd departed for the parade, left me standing on the “carpet” with some balloons in my hand. The same place which was fully packed became dramatically empty, only the wind still turning around. Suddenly, I began to break the balloons one by one, the sounds burst and occupied the whole space.
And then, I removed more layers of clothes and end up with a nightgown. With a gust of wind, I lifted the long cloth, and it immediately flied in the sky like a running river! I tried to hold and move this “pink river” until it made a circle and surrounded the staff left there packing the installations for the manifestation. However, they just pushed the cloth aside from them, continued to do their job, as if nothing strange was happening…
At the very last, I reeled the cloth on my body, turned it into my clothes. Afterwards, l lay down with all my stuff on the table-cloth again, as if I was buried by the “pink river”.
It is a story about a “misplaced woman” comes from China lives currently in Belgium, who attempts to find her place as a foreign woman despite all the stereotypes and cultural misunderstandings. But sometimes, she needs to disguise herself like a model in a fashion show, to act different roles that she is supposed to be…She tries very hard to be with the people here and fight with them, but she fails again and again… She even can't understand what they are fighting for… The only thing she could do is to live like a flowing river, dancing, singing, and crossing anywhere in the world, for her existence and journey of life is the best manifestation.