FEMALE BODIES on poems, philosophy, science, pirates and literature.
#FemWALK of Kulangsu is critically adapted to the format of a historic city walk. The focus is on the visibility of intellectual women, as well as their work and effect on China. In terms of Appropriation Art #FemWALK of Kulangsu the tourist do as they normally would and go with the classic equipment such as flags, audio guides and headsets through the historic center of Kulangsu. The central starting point is the interaction within the group: by means of media interventions, performances and video projections are taken along a specific route experiencing the biographies and artistic works of inspiring female personalities. Different stations connect the stories of Kulangsu with those of their female protagonists. #FemWALK of Kulangsu draws a multi-layered image of memory and tells of poetry, piracy, science, activism and literature while the city is observed through walking and our own bodies.
On the search for stories about local female quotes and thoughts. These are quite often not as visible as they should be even more exciting it is to discover them.
The public space is full of stories that affect us consciously and unconsciously. We are moving through the streets, we find places that catch our attention and sometimes we meet people whose stories change our perception: Exploring the city meets memory. Records and thoughts from another time, just have their still enduring validity that does not lose its topicality. Along the way, we track down quotes, lyrics and poetry which were addressed to a certain public. We meet a renowned Chinese doctor and scientist Lin Qiao Zhi, who was born in Kulangsu and became the first female physicist of China. Lin Qiao Zhi conducted her scientific work and research in 1933, among others, in Vienna. Not far from the Yu Garden, which was created in honor of the scientist, is a school today where activist and poet Qiu Jin was taught for eleven years. Qiu Jin is the first Chinese feminist who championed gender equality, education and emancipation, she wrote numerous essays and poems in which they explore a wide range of metaphors and allusions. Shu Ting, also born in Gulangyu, is one of China’s best-known poets and was part of the „Misty Poets“ who actively opposed the restrictions of art during the Cultural Revolution. We move through Kulangsu, pulling the sails towards the sea and lastly, we encounter the story of the pirate Ching Shih – with words and texts of impressive personalities, we travel back to the present.
SHU TING, born 1952 grown up in Kulangsu, Chinese poet associated with the Misty Poets. During the Cultural Revolution she was sent to the countryside until 1972. She began to write poetry in 1969 and her work was published in Today magazine among others (Jīntiān). She was asked to join the official Chinese Writers‘ Association, and won the National Outstanding Poetry Award in 1981 and 1983. Her poetry is tender, soft and very personal; she brings the feminine point of view to contemporary Chinese poetry.
LIN QIAO ZHI (1901-1983), Chinese obstetrician and gynecologist, born in Kulangsu. Dr. Lin was a model teacher, as well as writer and editor, her compassion and dedication won the hearts of men and women alike, many of whom named babies after her. In 1955, she became the first female member of the Learned Department of Academia Sinica. In 1959, she took up the position of director of the Beijing Maternity Hospital, as well as deputy director of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.
QIU JIN (1875-1907), Chinese feminist poet and writer, educated in Kulangsu for eleven years, later she went for studies to Japan. Qiu Jin is the founder of Vernacular Journal (Baihua Bao), In one issue, Qiu wrote a manifesto entitled „A Respectful Proclamation to China’s 200 Million Women Comrades“, where she lamented the problems caused by bound feet and oppressive marriages. In 1906 she founded a women’s journal with another female poet, Xu Zihua, called China Women’s News (Zhongguo nü bao).
CHING SHIH (1775-1844), pirate in the middle Qing China, Red Flag Fleet, 300 ships of 20.000-40.000 pirates. Ching Shih developed an existing pirate code into a system of laws and bureaucracy. She even created a sophisticated system for dividing up booty, and laid out strict rules on the treatment of female captives. For years, the Red Flag Fleet under Ching Shih’s rule could not be defeated, neither by Qing dynasty Chinese officials nor by Portuguese or British bounty hunters.
With great support of Kulangsu Cultural Wormhole International Art Residency, University of Applied Arts Vienna and Austrian Cultural Forum Peking
#FemWalk of Kulangsu
Performance: 30th September 2018
Exhibition: 1st – 10th October 2018