(c)aging II Diogenes- Boxes 1

In a group performance by the curator of the artspace in Guangzhou seven artists have the task to represent one of the so-called seven Chinese sages. I represent Ron Qiqi, a hedonist. His life mottos are:
To be born human, to be born man, living to an old age.
He chose to be happy as for most of the people it is normal, that  life is one of hardship and death is the end of it. He was rejecting personal responsabilities in favour of pursuing joy, even if it meant abstinence of material desire. This figure relates to Diogenes in ancient Greece.
Diogenes chose to live in poverty and be happy with what surrounded him. He was fooling the people by carriyng a lamp during the daylight, claiming to be looking for an honest man. From the street I bring a very frail wooden frame to the gallery, which is used on site to protect goods during transport and put myself in it. The frame has a cube shape and a lid.
Even though I can free myself from the frame at any time, my mobility is restricted through its shape. I give my flashlight to people from the audience and I ask them to illuminate my acticities, even if my performancespace is already brightly lit. I cut "wounds" in my dress and patch them right away. Finally, I scrape a banana and mend the interface with thread.The seemingly senseless activities are highlighted through the cooperation of the audience.

As much value as one attaches to an action itself, as much it has in public. The supposed limitations of the raw wood frame are also self-made. At the latest, when I get out of the frame to sit back in it in a new position, the audience sees that I can easily free myself from the predicament. In contrast to my two male role models (Ron Qiqi and Diognes) I do not try to gloss over my situation but show that the agony we expose ourselves is self-made. I also refer to the state of aging. As long as I am able to mend wounds left by my own life, I can continue to inflict and keep busy until I am taken by death.
What if I just stop and try to get out of my uncomfortable but acustomed habits? Suddenly I see that it is no obstacle at all. The people around me only seem to shed light on my traumatic events as long as I keep them in the foreground. What if, as an old fool, I slash and cut bananas and so instead harming myself I amuse myself and others by  oviously meaningless actions?
I also choose a much more comfortable position, which is suddenly possible even in my limited space.
This work is part of the series "Boxes". In "Boxes" I deal with issue "thinking in boxes", the limitations that we and the society  inflict in which we live. From a closed box in “Boxes 3 Sensation”, reduced to a sensual object, over the grid box in Boxes 2, in which stones have additionally hampered my mobility (= life), I arrive at a light wooden box (aged), in which I transform the limitation into ease of the mind and life.
As part of the performance
the seven sages
by James Hu Zhen
OPEN Festival
The People's Hall of Xiaozhou Village

pics: Wu Kong, Wen Weidong