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Life itself is a performance. I consider performance as an attitude rather than a medium, an ideology rather than a style, a situation rather than an action. I started “The Husbands and I” performance in July 2009; I wore my Chinese traditional dress, walking on streets and asking white males to have a photo taken with me by suggesting them to act as my husbands– to explore intimacy between two strangers in public space. I have had photo with 352 men so far. In September 2010, I moved from exploring this intimacy in public space to white men’s private spaces. I advertised myself in various media as an exotic, compliant and artistic Asian girl, looking for a white husband who would like to take me to his home and live with him for a day as his mail order bride. I started to date with different white men in later September 2010, and lived with each of them for a day. This performance ended in June 2011.
I emigrated from China to Canada nine years ago. I regard the whole process of immigration as a marriage, and myself like a mail order bride. I married Canada, suddenly transforming myself from a Chinese to a Chinese Canadian or Canadian. My national identity is not constructed by Canadian history, its culture or its beautiful landscapes, but by the white males who are beside me. The physical encounter between me and the white males actually is an ideological confrontation between me and the Western social and political landscape that I feel I don’t belong to. For me, the sense of belonging can only be deepened through marriage. In fact, the process looking for a white man is a process of looking for home. However, the home is temporary and the relationship is ephemeral.
This performance is also relevant to open discussion about how to deal with “deterritorialization”…
ISSN 1799-8549 (Painettu/Printed)
ISSN 1799-8557 (Verkkolehti/Online)
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