Sculpt, Together!

Interactive theater

I begin the work by having the audience sit together at the table with the clay on it, projecting 'We encounter the world we sculpt in the reflection of our projection' on the table while I sit in front of it. Voice over begins by instructing the audience to touch the clay placed on the table and begin to shape it.

I project the video of my own face onto the clay on the table, and as the viewer pinches the clay on the table, an intimate and strange relationship is established with the video and the object, they are passively reshaping a human face. At the same time I project the video of my hands kneading the clay on the table, at which point the viewer feels that they are shaping it together with another pair of hands, and the interlocking of the two hands creates an equally intimate and strange sensation.

I sit in front of the table and project the video of hands shaping clay onto specific parts of my body, my stomach, my legs and my face. The combination of the images and my body creates a sense of my body being kneaded and shaped.

The whole experiment lasted 15 minutes and was composed with a written script narration, a human voice, a projected image on my body and a projected image on the table.

Clay is a physical material, and kneading is a physical movement. But no matter what you make, the projection image is the most important element that determines what you see.

Personal perceptions of the world come from our projections of it. This projection seems to have no possibility of being 'personal', it entangle with the projection from the environment, system, society we are in. While we are constantly shaping perceptions, we are also constantly being shaped?

Script / Voice Over

Welcome. It is an honor to be here at this moment, in this place, for this special gathering. From this moment on, please remove all distractions from your mind, Move your attention to your own presence, breathe deeply with me, (breaths sound*3). Look around you at the people who will be sharing the air, the space, an the act of creation with you for the rest of this time.

Please place your hand gently on the clay in front of you, touch it slowly, try to feel its delicacy and roughness, recall the joy of kneading clay as a child, that simple sense of accomplishment. When you feel it is time, you can start to add some finger pressure and try to change the shape of the clay, slowly, slowly. Yes, just like that...

Let's go ahead and slowly push the clay with your fingers, gently changing the shape. Yes, just like that, following th rhythm of your breath, the rhythm of your body.)The first time I touched clay was in my kindergarten clay modeling class, I pinched a shape with play doh and th teacher said to me: ‘Wonderful, you pinched a star! ’ I asked, ‘what is star?’ She said: ‘A star is the shape you just made.’ She then held up my work and said to the class, ‘This is a star!’ and all the kids looked up at that shape and sai ‘star’ in unison. For a long time in my childhood, I believed stars were made by play doh.

There is a Chinese fairy tale which describes how the Mother goddess Nüwa created humanity due to her loneliness. She molded yellow clay into the shape of people. Indigenous North American, Shilluk, India Korku and Māori mythology, all have the similar story that a god use clay to make first human. (That is very interesting, isn’t it.)

Clay is a gift from nature. It is used to make different objects, such as, pottery, decorations, bricks, buildings, an monuments. Human intention is transferred to different hand gestures, positions and pressures to form the clay into particular shapes, This it’s called ‘Sculpting’.

Human body is a gift from nature, it is used to do different things, such as sleeping, eating, digesting, fighting, thinking... and making. Maybe sometimes , or all the time, the body is formed into particular shapes, with particular reason.

(Hey, are you satisfied with what you have made? You still have some time to make some changes. Follow your body, follow your heart!)

We are good at creating, we enjoy creating. We use our unique human wisdom to create a perfect world, but sometimes we get lost, then we create some perfect stories to let those unexplainable experiences make sense.

(We sculpt for the sake of that perfect world, though the process of deformation and reformation may be painful, because we believe that the pain is temporary and the future is bright.)

(See, we make the world, we make ourselves. Thank you for participation, I hope I will see you again somewhere in the better future!)

*The paragraph with lighter color is the part I want to delete after the reflection of the first experiment