Tuesday, March 11, 2008

张建君 (JJ)'s Performance

JJ continues his fascination in Chinese architecture with his 2(ish) hour long 2-part public piece, in which he invited kids to draw from old buildings and from their imagination. In the first part the kids with JJ's help drew with chalk some old buildings across the street directly onto the road (Ji An Lu). In the second part they drew on the wall in a demolition site what they imagined the future buildings would look like. Finally, they were asked a few questions about whether they liked old or new buildings and why, and were asked to describe their drawings.

Though it was a planned event, the reactions (to the first part on the busy street) varied so much; some would stop for a long time to see what was going on, others walked past (and on the drawing) without even noticing/caring. The children were quite shy in general but got into the drawing more and more as time went on.

The two parts of the piece complimented each other, each brought out certain things, were different experiences. The first was on a loud and busy street, people walked/biked/drove over the drawing. The latter was very quiet, the kids drew on abandoned walls.

It's interesting to note that there were cameras all around the whole time (including mine). There were some professional cameramen who took video footage and photographs documenting the piece. I wonder if the kids would have behaved differently if there hadn't been so many cameras around, if they didn't feel like they were being watched. I believe the footage will be shown on TV as well? It would perhaps have been more beautiful to have the events take place and leave it at that (without documentation), but then again you wouldn't be able to show it to anyone or stick it in a gallery.

I agree with Amanda that the weakness of this piece is that it was too short. The drawings, if given more time, could have become really really intricate. It felt a bit incomplete as is.

Of course, the footage will be put together and shown in a gallery setting, so we will see how that goes.

1 comment:

Matt said...

I wonder if one could do the event again, in a planned similar space but yet hide the cameras and recorders in such areas as to disguise them. Say putting one in a window across the street from the planned event. It'd just be interesting to see how things differed, if at all.