For My Art
For My Art is a two-channel video installation which conjures the sensorial landscape of transition-era Burma/Myanmar through the figure of the performance artist. The camera follows five women performance artists as they venture into the streets, markets, and mega-malls of Yangon, transforming the quotidian into unexpected performance spaces. As ordinary people and objects are swept into their art, the boundaries between performance and everyday life begin to disappear.
In and out of Burma/Myanmar since 2010, we were eager to venture back to Yangon to direct a project framed by artistic, political, and feminist aspirations. Much like Walter Benjamin’s flâneur reflected the politico-economic changes of nineteenth-century Paris, we were interested in the figure of the performance artist as a subjective vantage point from which to understand the transformations taking place in Burma. What we found was a new generation of women performance artists, who, like us, had been inspired by the first wave of brave women who burst onto the performance art scene during the height of Burma’s military regime in the 1980s and 1990s. While many of these second and third generation performance artists had cultivated a following in Yangon and beyond, unlike the first generation, they rarely performed outside of gallery walls. In front of our cameras, however, their already-energetic practice channeled electrifying results in the streets, malls, and jetties of Yangon. The film captures unfolding synergies and frictions between artists, filmmakers, and public participants, providing a view into the gendered spectatorship of performance art. It also hints at the politically charged nature of filmmaking that we experienced, in which we are sometimes viewed as vehicles of the power-laden international interventions taking part in Burma’s fractured ‘transition.’
World Premiere: Wathann Film Festival, Yangon, Myanmar
International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies BURMA/MYANMAR IN TRANSITION: Connectivity, Changes and Challenges at Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand
GALLERY & MUSEUM SCREENINGS
Performing Modernity (longer installation version) at the Johnson Museum of Art with live performance by Chaw Ei Thein, Ithaca, New York.