In Chongjing I realized a new collaborative performance piece entitled Embodying Nature: Chongqing, Bamboo Forest with a local artist, Ren Qian. It grew out of the research I began in the summer of 2009 where I started to view nature as another body with which to collaborate.

In a Bamboo forest north of Chongjing, Ren Qian and I documented a series of interactions with nature; both collaboratively and individually. Footage of these actions were edited into a video piece that was used as the basis of a new multi-layered live art performance at 501 Art Space. The intent of the performance was to bring elements of nature into the gallery. While projecting our outdoor explorations, we recreated a natural environment with sound, lighting and other natural elements to allude to a forest setting. Mixing our interactions with organic materials and technology was an attempt to draw attention to the artifice created in the gallery.

Embodying Nature constitutes a development from my previous works that explored the use of the body and the many meanings it engenders. The movement and interactions that make up this work attempt to subvert the tropes that perpetuate the heroicized “Man-in-nature” construct. By considering nature as a body and as participant, is it possible to think of it as more than a passive prop or backdrop and eschewing it from being venerated and fixed in the realm of the sublime? Instead of being driven by a predetermined, single or dominant narrative, this new work facilitates an exploration into the cultural and social forces acting upon the body allowing for critical investigations into attitudinal perceptions both historically and contemporaneously.