project image
Miao Jiaxin

first performed on November 15, 2013
Grace Exhibition Space, Brooklyn, NY
performed once in 2013


Brooklyn, NY


I use site-specific installation, soundscapes, lighting and natural elements such as fire, water, soil and seeds to communicate a message. This series of performances address our own complicity with and dependence on the forces that are creating climate change. Humans seem more attached to their own immediate comfort than long term survival; ignoring the emergency signals being sent out by the scientific community and continuing on the path of mass consumption of fossil fuels. “S.O.S. III” is the third installment of this series.

The installation of “S.O.S. III” incorporated five wooden canes hung from the ceiling upside down over a circular mound of soil, behind which rested a wooden suitcase painted aluminum with a radiation symbol on it. Nestled above the canes, an umbrella was suspended; its handle repeating the shape of the cane handles, creating visual rhythm that echoed the repetition of the hooks suspended from the air. On stage right, an old door with dirty windows stood, with a lit exit sign dangling suggestively.

The installation was set behind a gauze curtain so that it was only revealed once the performance was set into motion. I started the performance by hobbling out with a cane and a can of spray paint and painting a giant SOS on the gauze curtain. An assistant then entered and cut the gauze curtain in half, revealing myself suspended on the cane hooks over the soil mound with fog billowing around. The sound track and lights came up together. An air raid warning horn sounded, on repeat. I remained suspended and dangled over the earth as a fuse off stage was lit and slowly made its way to the soil mound. As it slowly approached me, dressed formal attire, I pulled corn seeds out of my pocket and began to drop them into the soil below me with a mournful countenance as I peered out from under my umbrella.

The tension built until the fuse finally reached the mound of soil, igniting it in a surprisingly large plume of flame. My clothes fell off as I leaned back off the canes. Once naked, I looked out over the flames to the audience and then again extended the body, this time lower so I can feel the heat of the flames cooking my flesh and my hair is blown up by the waves of hot air as I looked out at the audience.

I then retracted, into myself, for an embrace. Lights faded out so that the dying flames were the only remaining light. End.