Dongyi Wu

Final review

Mar 14, 2011 by Dongyi

Heeding the advice of my peers from the witness study, I built on top of the critique and made the following changes:
1) I constructed a longer version of my sweater top, so that it reached down to the top of my thighs. This changed the visual experienced, as the top covered all of my torso, and the amount of yarn took longer to unravel.
2) I added a variety of choreographed movements, to be used accordingly. Aside from upper body/arm movement, leg movement was also used in this performance.
3) Instead of attaching the yarn to the sewing machine at the beginning of the performance, everything came out already set up, so that the action doesn’t put myself in any strong position in relationship with the action of the audience.

Out of the comfort zone of a familiar audience, it was fascinating to see their relationship with the machine and me. The audience were engaging, but only by a few. The rest were spectators who waited upon each other to participate. Some came up out of curiosity and dabbled in it, while others stayed longer to see the effect they were causing. There were awkward moments when the participants thought they were “messing up” the performance and felt obligated to “fix it,” at one point even apologizing verbally. With an audience outside of our class that doesn’t know the exact performance, it created another aspect of the performance in which the failure blurred the lines of what was or what wasn’t part of the performance.

The outcome this time was different from the study. The yarn was completely stripped from me, my upper body exposed completely. The reactions from certain participants were difficult to explain, since people from the class chose to partake, and the new audience were skeptical of whether their actions were premeditated. Later comments expressed that the end was anti-climatic since I was covered up, but all parts of the process was left up to the collective choice of the audience, and be it good or bad. This performance was just as much about the participants’ choices and actions as it was about mine.

#3 Witness review

Mar 14, 2011 by Dongyi

The witness study was an experiment in building a dialogue between the participants, my machine, and my body. The intention of my study was to create the tension of control and desire between me and the participant, using my body as a medium. I sewed a chain-stitched sweater top covering my torso, and tied the end of the yarn to a turning spool of the machine. The entire performance was unspoken, and I simply set it up in a clear and direct manner, by laying out the foot pedal and presenting it to the audience with a choice, whether to step on it or not. I remained motionless unless provoked by a participant stepping on the pedal to unravel my sweater. Through the provocation I naturally let the rhythm and movement of the yarn and sewing machine guide the movements of my body, creating improvised choreography.

The outcome of the performance weighed heavily on the audience. Due to the relationship between the audience and me, each participant’s choice seemed considerate and careful. The audience reacted in several different ways, by stepping on the pedal, “fixing” my spool of yarn when it went off track, to putting the pedal in front of me, turning the sewing machine off, and finally, cutting the yarn. My torso was never fully exposed and the sweater was left with an inch. It was interesting as I sensed a sort of protective and reluctant energy from the group. My direct relationship with the audience gave me a safety net as a performer, and the dependence made this performance less strong. There were also logistical and visual queues that had lots of room for improvement. However, this was a prelude to my final performance, and proved to be an insightful and helpful preparation.

agit-prop review

Feb 24, 2011 by Dongyi

My study was an attempt to bring awareness to the workers who make our demands for consumerism possible. These workers reside in what we commonly term Third World countries, or are marginalized people who work in First World countries. I wanted the audience to recognize the invisibility of these people and the lack of connection to them in this globalized world. For this exercise, I chose to use the countries of clothing production as a theme, in connection with my technology.

I immersed myself and the audience in the dark, juxtaposing their bodies within the same space. The set up of this environment was to reflect the horrible conditions of factory workers coerced to work in low light, and is also an analogy of the unacknowledged people. The sound and rhythm of the sewing machine was the main focus of the performance, resonating in the darkness of the room. I named off the top list of outsourced countries while sewing to the sound of the machine. I did not make anything specific, but merely used a red cloth with red thread to create a failed piece of work, the invisibility of this labor being my intention. At the end of the performance I asked the audience to look at their garments and say the name of the country in which they were made.

The performance achieved its goal as the audience understood the message at the end, but the audience reaction was hard to control. My lack of direction for the audience in turn worked against my intentional, as I told them to ignore me, which inĀ  the performance had a reverse effect. The dim light that I was not able to diminish on the sewing machine also attracted the audience to me, which was not something I anticipated nor wanted.

sewing machine

Jan 13, 2011 by Dongyi

sewing machine