Hiking Journal
Papers, pencils, canes, specimen, photographs and document.

Site-specific installation.

When I was an artist in residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts in California, I used to hike in regions such as Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Muir Woods, and Angel Island. I would write a journal entry, draw a map of my route, and save the cane I collected from every one of my hikes. Also, I photographed all the images I saw along the way. In very concise words, I jotted down my experiences during hiking. Even though most of it was very objective description, the reader could still see traces of my emotional and psychological state from my writing. And because hiking was so physically consuming, I had to continue to monitor my blood sugar so that my food intake, medication, and physical condition could strike a balance. I remember taking photographs of my own excrement as well as that of wild animals. I collected the excrement and saw myself as a wild animal, from a biological perspective. Upon my return to the art center, I developed the photographs and slides, and I organized my notes and labeled the maps I had drawn. Subsequently, I preserved my canes, photographs, my hiking journal, maps, and specimen in my studio. There were a total of 23 recorded hikes during my stay.

This was the beginning of the establishment of certain principles or a new model behind my work in performance art. This new model influenced many of my later works. It did not need audiences, and went by its own rules, then presented by documents, in trying to express my experience and showcase aesthetics. Even though sometimes I did not even know what exactly the final form of some of my works were, I continued to live and to work, thinking about how to piece together a piece of artwork through many of the elements I have gathered along the way.

During this period, I cozied up to my Asian roots by practicing yoga, meditation, and studying the Taoism, learning from ancient philosophers such as Laozi and Zhuangzi. Hiking Journal was inspired by “The Adjustment of Controversies” by Zhuangzi. I felt we would be exempted from a great deal of conflicts and pain if human beings saw themselves as equals to other living creatures. Therefore, my behaviors and documentation were the interactions between an individual’s body and Mother Nature. Monitoring or balancing my blood sugar, or urinating as a way of labeling, drawing out maps, as well as confirming my location became survival skills for me in the wilderness or in a foreign land.

《 健行日誌》
《 健行日誌》
《 健行日誌》