Thursday, May 24, 2007

Han Bing's Walking the Cabbage World Tour

Walking the Cabbage (2000-present) is an ongoing performance art piece that has taken Han Bing across China--from his tiny home village to Tiananmen Square, from the colorful minority village of Dali in the southwest mountains to the tranquil water towns of Suzhou, from the Westernized Bund in Shanghai to the Great Wall and beyond--the USA, Japan and Europe. By inverting quotidian practice, Han Bing foregrounds the lowly cabbage--the Chinese comfort food and bottom line staple of the poor--as a laden signifier of the nature of the times in "modernizing" China. For the nouveau riche, the humble cabbage as a sign of basic material stability (once horded by urban residents en mass to get them through the winter) has been replaced by the pampered pedigreed pet. What do the objects we attach to ourselves say about how we define our identies and values in this rapidly changing world? How do our mundane everyday practices and routines serve to constitute our shared sense of the normal? Han Bing poses these question with his public performances of Walking the Cabbage, which are conducted as everyday practice across a diverse array of social spaces and in public places everywhere, inciting the emergences of the "Cabbage-Walking Tribe" who question the authority of the norm and bring our attention back to the way the world is shaped by our everyday actions.

Images by Han Bing, starting from top row left to right:
Walking the Cabbage in Brooklyn, NYC, 2007; Walking the Cabbage at the Capitol Building, Columbia, SC, 2007; Walking the Cabbage in Tiananmen Square 2, Beijing, 2006; The Cabbage-Walking Tribe: Jo E in Shin Tokorozawa, Japan, 2006; Walking the Cabbage at Harajuku III, Tokyo, 2006; The Cabbage-Walking Tribe: Mexican Day Laborer, Los Angeles, CA, 2006; Walking the Cabbage at Harajuku II, Tokyo, 2006; Walking the Cabbage at the Peace Hotel, Shanghai, 2005; The Cabbage-Walking Tribe: Lolita Girl at Harajuku 1, Tokyo, 2006; The Cabbage-Walking Tribe: Residents of Columbia, SC, 2007; The Cabbage-Walking Tribe: Red Dress in Paris, 2007; The Cabbage-Walking Tribe: Alternative Young People in Harajuku, Tokyo, 2006; The Cabbage-Walking Tribe: Cool Dudes in LA Chinatown, Los Angeles, 2006; Walking the Cabbage with Chickens in the Family Yard, Hanhu Village, Jiangsu, 2005; The Cabbage-Walking Tribe: Yi Pizzeria Girls in Dali, Yunnan, 2006.

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