Anthology of Superfluous Activities - 2019

Anthology of Superfluous Activities - 2019

We invited our audience to a short tour of Banqiao 435 Art Zone, and the surrounding area. During the tour we performed different tasks: nightwalking during daytime, taking naps, reviewing paintings, etc. These tasks are inspired by the "Treaties of Superfluous Things" by Weng Zhenheng, 17th century. Weng Zhenheng Treatise on Superfluous Things. How did the city influence our conversation? Could we perform the tasks? What is intimacy? Do we feel more intimate with each other at the end of the performance? Weng Zhenheng spent is life collecting, evaluating and describing the activities that the cultural élite of his time was doing in their everyday life. Nowadays, when the concept of élite does not concern artists anymore, when we are all cluster of data controlled by algorithms, living in a constant gamification of our productivity that creates only competition, we claim the universal right to waste time, energy, money, in useless and superfluous activities.  This performance combines and re-imagines the 20 superfluous activities of the treaty:

燈龕night walk, 高枕nap, 禮佛worship, 烹茗tea, 展畫painting, 焚香incense, 月上moon, 主客真率hosting, 灌花watering plants, 摹帖calligraphy, 山游landscape, 薄醉drunk, 夜坐sit alone in the night, 聽雨listening to the rain, 閱耕farmer, 觀史history, 新筍baby bamboo, 洗研washing, 賞雪snow, 竹bamboo

The audience is welcomed in a warm environment (rehearsal space), where they are served tea by a "master of ceremonies", while waiting for everybody to arrive. The master will bring them outside the rehearsal space, and lead them to witness a weird show: 5 performers are hugging trees, asleep. The audience is invited to do the same and close their eyes. Once they do so, the performers approach them and singing soft lullabies, leave 5 night masks hanging from the trees. Then the tell to only 5 audience members to put the mask, without opening their eyes. These lucky ones will be lead for a 15 minutes blind walk, one by one, to the exit of the complex, into the city. Here they will be "woke up". Meanwhile, the rest of the audience will follow this unusual procession of blind people, helping to enrich the experience by creating sounds, smells with whatever they find. Then, everybody will be handed a small notebook with some tasks to do in the city. They will have only 20 minutes, so they will have to choose one. It will be an individual exploration (or in case of kids, with the parent). Find a smell in the city that reminds you of somebody. Try to collect it and bring it back. Find your temple. Find a place in the city where you can feel there Is a spirit/god. Establish a friendship with this spirit/god. Leave a personal proof of this worship.  Find a painting that you really like. Take a photo of it. Give it a title.  Find a shop, a restaurant, or a business. Interview the owner about its history. Note down how they move, talk, behave - try to imitate them. Find snow. Try to bring it back before it melts. Find the moon. Take a picture of it.  Once they have done this activity, they have to go back to the rehearsal space, where they will have more tea. At this point, they will draw a map of their experience, and share it, one by one, in a circle.