Granny's Lullaby/摇啊摇,摇到外婆桥

Performence & Installation
lamp, Wood, Micro Controller
270x270x270(Variable dimensions)

2024 Arte Laguna Prize - 18th edition Finalists(current)


Granny's Lullaby is a performance art installation created on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the Wenchuan Earthquake in 2023. The work consists of two parts, an interactive installation and a performance art show, in three chapters. Flickering light bulbs and swaying swings form an uncertain space of memories, solidifying the trauma caused by the earthquake across time and space, where uncontrollable disasters, the collision between the collective and the individual, and the shattering and rebuilding of order, gradually fall asleep in the lullaby of childhood.

The trauma caused by earthquakes is not only engraved on the earth, but also written in people's memories. No matter where they are, any tiny shaking may pull those who have experienced it back to panic again, and earthquakes are not buried ruins, but a ghost theater that repeats itself in their memories. People try to dissolve this fear with humor: "You don't have to run away from small earthquakes, but you can't run away from big ones", and the hallucinatory life accompanied by shaking has become a norm. The chandelier is a double metaphor for daily life and disaster warning, while the swing lifts the direct connection between shaking and dizziness and earthquakes and leads to a possibility of childhood. The lullaby is also a requiem, healing memories with memories, taking people away from the cycle of destruction-fear-trauma.

An understanding of disaster leads to an understanding of the earth, and the way we look at our habitat may also constitute a path to understanding ourselves.

Granny's Lullaby is inspired by earthquakes. Fifteen years after I experienced the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake (magnitude 8) in Sichuan Province, memories triggered by hallucinations of earthquakes were fed with new memories of frequent and real earthquakes, and so self-perception, childhood, and memories, together with chandeliers and vertigo, became entangled. This is a longer and irresistible force after the great force of nature.

The Chinese province of Sichuan, where I was born, is a relatively seismically active region due to its geographic location at the junction of the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates. The magnitude 8 quake struck in my second grade class, during my first language class after the lunch break. The devastating earthquake killed more than 69,000 people and left at least 4.8 million homeless. But for me at the time, I can only remember the chandeliers flickering and flickering like swings from the swaying ceiling of my school at the time.

People who live in earthquake zones always know that an earthquake may strike at any time in the future. People in my hometown often say, "You don't have to run away from small earthquakes, but you can't run away from big ones," as a form of self-joke, which I consider a form of humor in the face of unavoidable disasters, and a placebo secreted by the brain when it is tense. In the face of the many large and small earthquakes that have occurred over the past 15 years, the first thing everyone does is post on social media, "Was there an earthquake just now?" "Why is it disturbing my sleep?" and so on, as if people have become accustomed to it. However, I felt that subconsciously recognizing an event with people around me was actually a way for individuals to perpetuate and deepen the collective memories and emotions associated with such catastrophic events, creating a kind of "Reflective Tremors. Later, even when I lived in a place like New York where earthquakes were rare, the slightest tremor, whether it came from a leg-driven table or a passing subway vibration, would arouse my immediate alertness and trigger visions of an impending earthquake.

In response to the subtle yet profound effects of the Sichuan earthquake, this work seeks to explore the intricate conflict between collective memory and self-perception, entwined with the symbolism of chandeliers, childhood and vertigo, like a lullaby in the nighttime hour attempting to soothe the enduring resonance due to the aftermath of a seismic event.

Audience interaction

Special Thanks

Jianhao zheng Yue Fei