Chinatown Conversation, 2010
Collaboration with Han Yuxin
Performance in 3 parts
Han Yuxin is a friend from China who lived in New York. I’m from Texas and was also out of place in New York. We would walk around the streets of Chinatown looking for the strange details that would pop out and catch our attention like broken objects in the display case and precise arrangements of garbage boxes. I was trying to understand my role in this area as a consumer of the exotic and Han was trying to find a sense of home in a foreign land. The objects of Chinatown and our fascinations with their arrangements spoke to us as a way to relate.
We decided to go on another walk, this time guided by an extra long carrying pole. We wandered and bought anything symbolic of our relationship to Chinatown. This was a consumption dérive where our purchases led us to the next choice. It became an absurd scene in its own right; not only because of the combination of a white American man and a Chinese man carrying a pole full of goods together, but you don’t even see carrying poles in Chinatown. It’s a common sight in China, but something of the old world absent in New York.
We returned to rearrange this collection of objects in Columbus Park, a space filled on the weekends with families and crowds surrounding Chinese chess matches. While local musicians played their meditative strings and chess games commenced, we began our own game.