Cut Piece 2022: This Room Moves at the Same Speed as the Clouds

May 27, 2022 | Posted By: | blog: film link · body-politics · Live Performance |

This Room Moves at the Same Speed as the Clouds 

I arrived in Zurich on the 7th of April in a storm. There were Ukraine flags flying in the old town. I checked with my Israeli friends safety as the shooting in the downtown Tel Aviv that night killed 3 and injured few … ShangHai has entered full scale lockdown, 25 million people are experiencing the world toughest restrictions … I watched the clouds rushing cross River Limmat, I thought, how would people react to the Cut Piece in the time of the pandemic and a war in Europe? 

Here are some my experience of the Cut Piece 2022: 

  1. The performance last 2 and half hours finished by museum turned down the lights as the security guards need to go home. You could say it was an open ending, waves of actions, strong opposite responding.  
  • Dust of fabric, I don’t remember seeing such poignant fragment in the last Cut Piece.  
  • Whisper, 5 Chinese speaking audiences said: “Thank you”, “ Sister”, “I am sorry” … to me in soft and gentle tone, It made my eyes moist almost instantly.   
  • A little girl came at lest 3 times, she collected different pieces from every parts of my outfit, to me she was making a map, she seemed happy and enjoying the participation. Took my instruction as an offer, a gift. Her movement around my body created poetic dance like the passing cloud.  
  • A little boy came with his mother, dressed in yellow jacket and blue hat, it reminded me Yoko Ono’s The Blue Room Event which is where the exhibition title from: This room moves at the same speed as the clouds. This room slowly evaporates every day. Stay until the room is blue… 
  • Some audiences were challenging the concept of “Taking” Someone didn’t cut but simply changed the direction of the scissors; Two people cut their own shirt and placed the small fabric in my hand; Someone kneeled down and stared into my eyes; Someone hugged me; Someone wiped my tears away; Someone sang, Someone cried … Two young women took their own clothes off to cover me while someone strip everything off … Someone walked away with the scissors, someone brought it back … the performance continues very slowly and silently. The 

stage became an opening book … echoes Yoko’s words: “Many rooms, many dreams, many countries in the same space. — The Blue Room Event ” 

  • One point, I had two jackets and three coats on, five people sat around me, I thought if all audience came up to the stage what a grand statement that is! “world will live as one.”  

  • Historically Yoko amended the instructions a couple of times: indicating that “members of the audience may cut each other’s clothing. The audience may cut as long as they wish.”  All the gestures happened during this Cut Piece naturally. Also it seems at times people were also recreating “Touching Piece” and “ Half A Wind” to my outfit.  
  • Four people wrote to me after the performance, asking my thoughts also sharing their experience, what a generous concept of live art, taking and adding, sharing and exchanging! The relationship between performer and participants. It rises questions about power and control.  
  1. I went back to the hotel with three piece of fabrics and a feather in my hair, a small bleeding cut and one shoe. Like my audiences, I also had souvenirs from this Cut Piece 2022.

Finally, I like to quote Kevin Concannon conclusion from his essay: Yoko Ono’s CUT PIECE: From Text to Performance and Back: Readings of Cut Piece as feminist, pacifist, anti – authoritarian, Buddhist, Christian – and even as a striptease – are all valid. The many and varied interpretations of Cut Piece by artist, performers, audiences, and critics testify to the work’s great power – a power embedded in its score. But most importantly, Cut Piece is an incredibly rich and poetic work that poses seldom – asked questions about the nature of art itself and in the process opens itself up to a multitude of readings. To assert that any of its performances or interpretations are definitive denies the work the very multivalence at its core and minimizes the qualities that make it forever vital and alive.

Live Performance at KunsthausZurich

Photo by Nelly Rodriguez

Video by Andri Weidmann