In “To Begin”, Chun Hua Catherine Dong performs a Sisyphean task, carrying stacks of books until they drop, and still beyond.
“To Begin” investigates social transformation through repetition and labor. In this work, the stack of books is the burden of both history and unsustainable civilization. In our current social climate, collapse seems inevitable. This performance demonstrates that the process of social transformation can be slow, but changes can happen anytime and anywhere. It examines how the collapse of power structures shift social dynamics, and how this inevitable collapse influences our daily existence and creates new beginning.
Body is political. Working within the gap between body as material and body as experienced reality, Chun Hua Catherine Dong uses the body—often her own body—as a visual territory in her work and a primary material to activate social commentary on immigration, race and gender. In her earlier works, the body represented an ideological confrontation or political alienation. She developed the idea of representation as a political tool to give visibility to those made invisible by dominant ideologies. In her newer works, she views the body as a bridge connecting East and West, past and present, creating a new version of hybridity and striving to transcend and mend.
Chun Hua Catherine Dong is a visual artist working with performance, photography, and video. She received a MFA from Concordia University and a BFA from Emily Carr University Art & Design. She has performed in multiple international performance art festivals and venues, such as, The Great American Performance Art in New York, Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival in Chicago, Infr’Action in Venice, Dublin Live Art Festival and so on. Among many other awards and grants, she is the recipient of Franklin Furnace Award for contemporary avant-garde art in New York in 2014.
Image: Vela Oma