This performance took place at English Kills Gallery in 2010 during SITE Fest in Bushwick Brooklyn.
Bonafede intersperses images from his time in Tibet with the ritualized writing of the Tibetan alphabet being dictated to him by a Tibetan refugee, Lhumdup, in traditional attire. The prayer wheel that Lhumdup spins reminds us that the Sutra that is coiled within the wheel and the language written and spoken in Tibet are interwoven aspects of the culture. Soon the chalk alphabet transcribed on the gallery floor catches the attention of dancer Juri Onuki who attempts to erase the language with her bristle brush shoes. As her dance of erasure quickens so does the transcribing of the Tibetan alphabet. Latzho is forced to move out of his comfortable chair and cuts through the gallery audience (see Tibetan refugees). As Bonafede follows, he tries to write faster while Onuki’s dance grows to a feverish pitch. The video from Kham region of Tibet mimics this traditional culture in jeopardy of being consumed by globalization and modernization. Details from images of the Buddha get drawn an erased as well as the line through the gallery reaches its final destination, a rear exit door.
This performance is dedicated to all the amazing Tibetan folks, and to all traditional cultures who continue to try to improve their lives under very frustrating conditions.
Special thanks go to Sonam- my Tibetan language teacher, Chloe Bass- Festival Organizer, Scott Herriot- Camera, Ira Hardy- Camera and Editing and Samten Dakpa- Co-Founder of Tibetanbridge.org. Additional video footage from Tibet by John Bonafede