Category Archives: MAIN SPACE

Bath Time! Go get your brother & sister~!

April 26, 2024 

Taking place at Stride Gallery; 1006 Macleod Tr SE.

Registration required: Please click here to register!

Doors open at 6:30pm for light snacks and refreshments

Performance at 7pm

Duration of performance: maximum 30 minutes

Seating available

As part of Andy’s work The scent of my cleansing prepares my own conclusion. presented in Dan Cardinal McCartney’s curated group exhibition Process: Presence and Resurgence at Stride Gallery, Andy will perform as their artist persona No-Body:) in nude, bathing themselves and their copper intaglio plate in soy sauce. Remaining evidence of the performance will include the emptied bottles of soy sauce, the resulting puddle on the floor, and a simple linen cloth – remnants of a body activated in the space, the exchange of parts of the body becoming part of the space, and parts of the space becoming part of the body. As mentioned in Sara Ahmed’s Queer Grief, “Each of us, in being shaped by others, carries with us ‘impressions’ of those others.”

No-Body:) invites your full engagement as witness through silent contemplative observation as they emerge from Stride’s kitchen, cleanse themselves and their copper intaglio plate, and conclude in exit returning to the kitchen.

Quoted from Andy, The copper intaglio plate may otherwise be known as a “New Ceremonial Object.”  Use of the term “New” being more akin to a stuffed animal tag stating, “Only New Materials” – it is “New” not so much as it is novel, but in the sense that it is fresh and has not been used before. Emulating a gravestone, it is a type of votive, an ode to a being, both referring toanother and acting as a stand-in body.

This performance ceremony is a ritualistic act of connection, memory, respect, preservation, and revitalization. Like family members cleaning the graves of loved ones, when they trim the grass, clean the stones, and tidy the space. It is an activation of the dead, an invitation for who the gravestones refer to be present with us, of being present with them, recognizing their significance to us that connect. To enliven and breath into them a return to life.

In cleaning both the copperplate and myself in soy sauce, I’m reflecting on my experiences of – and relationships with – queerness, transness, racialization, death, birth, & presence. Cupping in my hands and pouring on my hair like in a bath. Up the arms, on the chest, and over the shoulders onto the back.

I think of cultural cleansing as well, not necessarily that I am wiping the plate clean of its origins, but perhaps that I am wiping away the concealing tone of harm. Purification through a return and letting its original surface shine. When coercion of assimilation covers and takes away, there is still markers that linger. When I remember my parents’ home, I think of my Mom’s couch pillows that look like gold scrolls, a traditional Chinese painting from her Grandfather hanging in the livingroom, candle holders with characters etched in the glass, and a certain aesthetic leaning.

During the opening reception, my Dad was jokingly reminded of this saying, “Another day above ground is a good day.”

I could go on about [mis-]gendering after death, or the act of Queer refusal (especially of those that don’t make it to the performance, do they get to see it? No. Though they do get to possibly see the photo-documentation.), or when Sara Ahmed talks about how Queer death is treated as not valuable under the idea that in order to lose something there must first be something, and Queer lives are considered nothing to begin with in certain perspectives.

Part of this whole body of work I feel at a loss for explaining… I don’t yet know how to articulate the connection between bathing in soy sauce and the print and my family’s histories (particularly my Mom’s Chinese heritage), just that it feels like a necessary performance – an expression, action, movement, or embodiment. It feels spiritual; it feels like connecting to something larger than myself that I am as well a part of, that I am a through-line in.

There is an inaccessibility in connecting to Chinese culture and practices that my siblings and I have been grieving, and the ways we have connected or can connect has been only through forms in which are commodified (e.g. Chinese restaurant food). It felt ceremonial even in just developing the copperplate, that I first made up the necessary object for conducting the ceremony (performance) with.

Through the performance-ceremony, am I asking something of the transcendent realm? Or am I sending a message? What message, curiousity, or request am I saying to the sacred/transcendent with this ceremony? Is it an act of acknowledging & honouring my whole being, my being beyond my body, the being I am part of, my higher power, my ancestors, my kin, my relatives? For example, as if saying, “I see you, and I will do what I can in this body, in this place, to recognize and honour you in the ways I know best. To be present with you through aiming the impact of this work on those who are related and it is directly relevant for, as positively connective.” Like connective tissue over-produced in hypertrophic scarring signifies healing to something stronger. Am I reminding our experiences are not inherently shameful or sinful, that our grief is real and pure? Am I releasing the shame through purification/cleansing, or opening the windows and dusting off the sill for the air to flow & mingle, for the home to breathe?

This performance is a first act, an act uncertain of itself, of what it will or can do. It is uncertain of what it is doing, but it is present and it says it will figure it out as it goes and as it listens.

An invitation to connect and converse.