So Far, So Close Yeh Tzu-Chi
Xin1 and Sea 1 Xin,心,in Chinese means both heart and mind.
Sometimes I am as peaceful and waveless
as tree, as flower, as breeze
Sometimes I am so frenzy that
I would open big mouth to swallow a whole village
Sometimes I am blue
Deep, shallow, huge, or small
I can laugh, and I can jump
Sometimes I lost color, from gray to dark
I can say nothing but with tears on my face
Sometimes I am faster than hare and cheetah
Suddenly become blue, dark, red, or white
Hard to say
You said I am Sea
I said I am Xin
Xin rarely goes to Sea
Perhaps it knows it is Sea
Sea can only be in the sea
But it knows it’s also in the body
A mysterious figure
Thus sea stays so close to Xin
Caresses her and kisses her
Xin and Sea
So far, so close
I was thinking about to do performance both in the mountain and on the beach. I even had title in mind. But then I had more and more desire to do on the beach only. Wu Yuan/Garden simply came from the advice of the Government.
I listen more and more to my own heart as I am getting older. I couldn’t and wouldn’t do anything against my heart/will. I often danced with the outer world when I was younger, echoing this and that in the reality, fluttering in the air like the dust kicked up. But as I grow older, I’ve found, after rolling a big circle and coming back to the starting point, that listening to oneself is still the most practical and comfortable way. And the world will not disdain you because of that at all. As a woman who stepped into family, I am accustomed to diminish my own voice/self to accomplish the Big Self of family and society. My son is over his twenty but my daughter is still in the elementary school. Assumedly I have to work very hard for the family for another 10 years. With that, perhaps I can say that I have fulfilled my social responsibility. If it is so, then would you please allow me to be a little bit selfish in the art world, let me start everything from heart.
After so many years, I found that I am that kind of person who is more introvert, likes to meditate, and enjoys to be alone. Perhaps it explains why I can live more than 25 years in the southern country side though I was born and grew up in the vanity metropolitan of Taipei. Living under the blue sky, among the green field, surrounded by the birds singing, and soaked in the sunset glow, I’ve never had the desire to go back to live in the city. How I love Nature!
But I would feel mania if there’s no reading and thinking, no creativity, no art, and no friends of the like surrounding me. So yes, after so many years, I think I can say that Performance Art is where I am. It’s something that can settle me down after forty years of searching.
I did not do art until I was over forty when my life had already settled down. Therefore I do art just out of love, nothing else. I do performance because I love it; curatorial, feedback and responsibility in addition. I have seen so many good artists and good performances abroad for the past 13 years that I would like to show them to my people in Taiwan. In the meantime, I would also like to show my fellow local artists and their performances to the international art circle.
Thus Mind & Sea: ArTrend International Performance Art Festival is presented this year. We say Mind & Sea as Xin Yu Hai in Chinese. Xin is a very interesting word. It refers to heart, as well as thinking/concept, intention, and emotion. It’s both the physical heart, and the abstract mind. Interestingly, it just echoes what the root of performance art is: body and mind. In the field of live performance, we can almost say Body is Concept. Body is also the media and vessel of concept. Accordingly, Xin is both body and concept. As for Sea, sometimes it’s as quiet and flat as a mirror; yet sometimes it’s as turbulent and violent as a monster, the phenomenon of which we can also feel in our very vast, deep, and changeable heart/mind/inner world. Mind & Sea perhaps therefore can imply that little cosmos of human being is not unlike the outer big cosmos. Mind is in the Sea. Sea is in the Mind. Mind and Sea mingle as One. The Inner is the Outer.
Like most contemporary international live art/performance events, Mind & Sea aims to gather performance artists to present their works. As an artistic category that is characterized as marginal, cutting edge, and lack of commercial value, live performance attracts very rare attention from gallery, museum, critic, scholar, or artist. So performance art festival has become a very important field where performance artists may gather together to support each other and to polish their art by watching mutual performances. As a showcase of an experimental art form that cannot be precisely defined, performance art festival usually offers a field for artists to perform as they wish instead of performing under a limited theme. In other words, performance art festival cares more about the artist himself, his mentality and how he shows it physically, rather than his research and argumentation toward some specific motif. Artist is the subject. Performance art festival cares how artist uses his or others’ bodies, in a period of time, in a specific space/environment, to carry out a procedure of actions, which make audience on the spot experiencing something we call broadly as art.
The audience who often go to the theatre, who often get profile before they see the performing, who almost always have moral teaching in the drama might feel strange and even uncomfortable when they first see the so-called live art performance. Very likely, they would complain that they don’t understand what the performance is all about. But if they can let go the desire to “understand” and try to feel everything happened with an unadorned, original sensitive heart, they might be rewarded with something unexpected. After numerous “hitting” back and forth with the artist, perhaps they would find eventually that they don’t see live performance only but also themselves.