Making Space

Making Space 1.1

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Description: Figures performing tai-chi movements were temporarily adhered to public walls around the city of Beijing.  The chosen wall sites were those that had been buffered with paint by local authorities, removing personal messages, phone numbers and advertising.  These ‘illegal’ city conversations were replaced instead with layers of different coloured blank paint surfaces, creating dynamic and contested sites of interaction.  A central principle of tai-chi, is that the internal space of the body forms as one unit with the external space of the surrounding world.  By placing these figures undertaking various slow-motion tai-chi movements on these very busy and highly 'charged' wall spaces, it was thought that they could bring about a calming influence.  The figures started to appear to take control of this visual chatter in the city, drawing the surface textures together in their own pace and time.  Members of the public crowded behind the Action Researcher/Performer as she adhered the figures to the walls, locals explaining and demonstrating their familiarity with the Tai-Chi movements depicted. 

© Astra Howard 2014