Three design professionals Peng Ding (Chaosteria), Huadong Zhu and photographer Daoyang Han came together some months back to an undisclosed location and enacted this unusual “public” performance.” What is the role of design or art in this?
‘Break’ is a peculiar public performance that took place on June 18, 2022, amid a cluster of hedges in an undisclosed city. The images depict Ding and Zhu lying on hedges, breaking up the foliage with their bodies while looking up at the sky or lying flat on their stomach. This performance is in other words, a continuation of Ding’s childhood fantasies, a breaking of set rules or patterns. It is Ding expressing his desire to break constraints in pursuit of his true self achieved by crushing the regular shape of the hedge with his body.
As Ding explains, “When I was a child, I always imagined myself lying on top of thousands of golden flowers, facing the sky, and feeling the beauty of nature whenever I saw a large field of rapeseed flowers in the countryside.”
This dream materialised again when he saw manicured hedges in contrast to the landscapes present and hence, he explains. “So, one quiet night, I tried to lie down on the hedge, but I sank into it, wrapped in thousands of leaves, and when I looked up at the night sky, I felt that the whole world belonged to me at that moment.”
This moment of triumph was also a period of realization as Ding found the power of working on your dreams and making it a reality, however small is it.
Han sees this process differently, he says, “Human as the external force interrupts the regular green belt, adding disorder, savagery, and wildnerness to the setting. It reflects the desire for natural growth, as if it was expressing the potential consciousness of breaking the order at the subjective level.”
Break is a physical performance artwork that truly depicts that power of order and the minds’ insistence to make it come through. The landscape artists made sure that no plants or hedges were harmed in their recording.