Belong, 2004

DaDao Art Festival, Beijing, China

In the middle of the newly-built, as yet unoccupied SoHo financial area in Beijing, surrounded on all sides by skyscrapers that grew upwards as you watched, I set up on a small square of grass. Mimicking Beijing’s ubiquitous uniformed guards (positioned in front almost every public building), I began the performance by assembling official-looking brass posts and a red cordon in front of me. The Festival audience of around a hundred people started arriving as I was cutting two deep lumps of turf, a stride apart, in the centre of the patch of grass. Sucking on a stick of ice to survive the intense humidity, I made a placard saying ´BELONG´ in English and Mandarin and hung it around my neck. Then I stepped into the holes, replaced the turf over my feet, painted my trouser-legs green up to the knees and remained fixed whilst the ice melted in my mouth. Frequently glancing overhead and back to the turf, I was clumsily attempting to gesture that I had cartoonishly crash-landed – somewhat like everything else around me – amongst the ‘New China’, my feet impacted into the ground as though dropped from an aircraft flying overhead, perhaps.

Supported by a 2 months ‘Artist Links’ Residency in Beijing and Shanghai, funded by the British Council in China

Belong 3