with Ying Liu
2017 — Sara D. Roosevelt Park
The performance was supposed to happen on Thursday and we only agreed to do it on Sunday night after an afternoon meeting, studio visit with Ying. While we knew beforehand what she wanted to meet us about, we couldn’t really decipher her e-mail: pictures and descriptions were provided, but it was hard to understand what they all added up to.

After she spoke to us, it was still somewhat unclear what she had planned, but her talk of follies and her own enmeshing within the community there appealed to us. We liked that her performance was spoken only in Chinese and that even we were barred from completely being able to decipher it. It wasn’t really for us, but also allowed us access to people who we thought about, but didn’t have any real communication with because of our language deficiency. During her visit Ying had with her an amazing umbrella that she said was a very popular brand in China and was made near her hometown. It was pink and shiny and used a lot of lace. We thought it would be great to use it in our part of the performance but it got lost somewhere between her, the park's governor, and ourselves.

It was summer, a lot of people were out of town, and with such short notice people had already made plans for the night. We figured whoever was around Chinatown that day would show up, and we messaged our usual group of friends via Instagram to see who could walk. When we eventually got to the number of people we needed, we sent out this e-mail.
Hi all,  

Thanks for helping us out and participating in this project. It's really great to have you all show up and It means a lot to us!

I want to go over Ying's project very briefly to give you a sense of whats happening. She has organized a three part performance which takes place in the Sara D. Roosevelt park during the month of August. Our presentation is part of her second episode. The piece is a scripted performance conducted in Chinese lead by six actors who respond directly to the activities and people who regularly occupy the park. The actors weave a dialogue between themselves and the park attendees (mostly Chinese families) to create an exchange of curiosity, expectation, and touch.

What we really like about this project is how involved Ying has become with the space and community. She has invited us to sort of crash the space with a fashion show which runs parallel to her project, but has a different attitude and functions separately. We thought this could be a good opportunity to be more involved with the Chinese community since we identify with Chinatown within our practice.

This is where you come in: you will come meet us in the southeast corner of the park where we will have a garment rack set up with clothes. We will dress and style you and send you off on the"runway", which is the track that rings the whole park. The track isa place where people stroll as an after dinner activity and Ying and us thought it was the perfect place for a runway show. The other performers will drop their activity at that point and come observe you alongside the different people in the audience of the performance.

D + T
Ying had prepared for us some cards to communicate with Mr. Zheng, the unofficial governor of the park, with very simple phrases in Chinese on one side and English on the other. It included greeting cards as well as a good bye one with additional instructions like turn up volume and start music. He provides a speaker for a group of Chinese woman who line dance in the park and agreed to help us play a soundtrack for the runway. Ying mentioned he was very excited to help us. 

Our runway show, dubbed “even-more-ravishing fashion walk” by Ying, was a spectacle for half the park, while the other half went about their normal activities. It was definitely competing with the energy of the park in general, but was never overwhelming in its presence, we were more a guest in someone else’s realm. Some people did stare, watch, and take pictures and it was great to see people actually interacting with our performance. As we had no definite end planned, we ended up hanging out at the park for a half hour and talking to our friends. It was the perfect ending, because as much as it was undefined, it bled naturally back into the activities taking place there; the space we were occupying was soon taken up by a group of women line dancing using the same speaker we had just played music from.
Nicholas Andersen
Henry Bae
Howie Chen
Angela Dimayuga
Doris Guo
Franky Tran
Special thanks to
Ying Liu
Mr. Zheng