“Cigarettes as the Western Incense” 

2017, LabBodies Performance Art Review, SpaceCamp, Baltimore, MD

Paper scroll, candles, handmade incense, passed down talismans, amulets, cigarette, “World’s Best Daughter 2014 Lisa Park” trophy, handmade dragon ceramic cup, passed down wood box, oranges, red tattoo ink, tattoo needle, thread, wooden tray, Chinese meditation balls, bee keeper suit, red coveralls, platform goth boots
Duration: 30 minutes
Assistant: Nima Jeizan
Photos: Alejandro Orengo

This was a fictionalized ritual in prospects of healing from the struggles of my bicultural identity and the rejection from my parents and society. The introduction of the performance was guided by an entire cleansing of the room by burning handmade incense sticks between my fingers until they burned out. Incense is used as not only cleansing, but also a measurement of time, and an endurance of pain, as the audience inhales the burning of my flesh. I then begin stick-and-poke tattooing talismans onto oranges while my assistant massages oranges onto my back. These talismans are passed down decades ago from my deceased grandmother in Korea. Previously, I have burned talismans and drank the ashes, however in this performance, I am reconfiguring the talismans onto the oranges. I then juice the oranges in Ziploc bags by stomping on them in platform goth boots. Finally I consume the red inked orange juice, light a cigarette and make my exit.