01 ‘Would you like to go to bed with me?’
// The flower blooming for one night
Virtual Reality (Real-time) Performance,KHIB, Marken,
24 March to 25 March 2007
The ‘Virtual’ of ‘Reality’ is Zhang Zi Dream about Being a Butterfly
In the dream, Zhang Zi became a butterfly. He was flying free in the air and going free everywhere. He did not notice that he was Zhang Zi. Suddenly he woke up; he realised that he was Zhang Zi. Then he questioned whether it was Zhang Zi dreaming of becoming a butterfly or if it was the butterfly dreaming of becoming Zhang Zi? He had to identify the differences between Zhang Zi and the butterfly since these had to exist. *
I see this story like this. Zhang Zi was traveling from the one paper side of the ‘infinity loop’ to the other side.
He experienced the ‘virtual reality’ of nature, the dream. I call it the ‘virtual’ of ‘reality’
‘Would you like to go to bed with me?’ was my first performance. It took place in Bergen, Norway. This was a wonderland for me. I came here from 8839 Kilometres away from Hong Kong. I love my friends and the people that I met here so much. We were from different countries, different races, boys and girls but our hearts were so connected. We hang out with the greatest of ease, we are so relaxed in each others company. This was a utopia… I felt it. So many stories and romances that we have shared together… I thought about many of us who would be separated after the summer; it was one kind of ‘virtual’ of ‘reality’ for me to have these friends too. The time spent in this happiness of being together seemed to fly by. It was like the flower in bloom for only one night.
How could I have proof of our love and the happiness between us? Could our love be proved? This was the trigger for the project.
I handed out 60 invitations cards hands to people I know at school. I invited them to my pajamas party and to be in bed with me. I built a ‘bedroom’ in the canteen in Marken. The interplay and situations arriving from being inside the bedroom were photographed by Marlies, the ‘Big Brother’ from the second floor. These pictures were simultaneously broadcasted outside the room at real-time. People who were outside were drinking beer and having fun while watching the ‘scenes’ from ‘Sleep in Bed’. Like in the Truman show, continuously being presented with static photos without voice.
The use of technology and the concept of ‘Virtual Reality’ were used in this project to project the intensity of the feeling of ‘the flower blooming for only one night’.
The ‘Virtual Reality’, Our Universe of Simulacrum
Baudrillard said that we are now living in the era of simulacrum.
Media practices have rearranged our senses of space and time. The real is no longer our direct contact with the world…TV is dissolved into life, and life is dissolved into TV.’ *
We are traveling between ‘reality ‘and ‘virtual reality’ of TV like ‘Zhang Zi dreaming about the butterfly’ - from one side of paper of the ‘infinity loop’ to the other side in our daily life. But, the pace of this ‘traveling’ is very intense. We end up being confused as to what is spectacle and what is real.
The project ‘Sleeping in Bed’ ‘spilled out’ into ‘real-time’. Our happiness of that moment becomes like ink filtrating the paper of the ‘infinity loop’, appearing on both sides at the same moment.
Photo is the magic of ‘Has-been-there’ as Roland Barths said.
What then is the ‘Has-been-there’ of a ‘virtual reality’ experience?
All the happiness and intimacy that we shared that night, was it real or an illusion?
However, photo is mute. Photos were born to memorize things but it forgets more then it remembers. It remembers 1/125ths of a second, more or less. And then it does not remember. It lies more then it tells the truth, as it acquires ‘rhetoric’ like the trick of a magician. You know the trick occurs but it is difficult to stipulate when, where and how the trick will take place.
While collecting the photos of that night, I found out that the time zone of my camera was still on Hong Kong time. I tried to imagine what I usually would be doing at that time in Hong Kong or even the year before. Was I working hard or walking fast? It was so amazing though to realise that I was in fact here and had been in bed with 19 and a half people… and a dog! My flatmate challenged me on that: ‘Are you performing and acting on the bed? What is the point of showing this intimacy to people?’
I replied with the following:’ Remember when we were children, we played the game of cooking rice. The rice was made of paper, it was not real. But, the imagination of the rice and happiness we felt were so real.’
I think ‘Would you like to go to bed with me?’ was a performing act of remembering and reversing these two characteristics of simulacrum era that Baudrillard pointed out:- ’ *
‘We are caught up in the play of images, simulacra that have less and less relationship to an outside, to an external ‘reality’’
‘At one time there was a clear difference between an exterior and interior. Now this opposition is effaced in a sort of obscenity where the most intimate processes of our lives become the virtual feeding ground of the media.
‘Going to bed’ is happy but not pornographic.
Vik wrote, March 2008