A group of UCLA students undertook a performance art practice in response to and in support of the ongoing White Paper Revolution in China.
Ignited by the accidental Ürümqi Fire that broke out in November, a mass demonstration erupted in major cities in China to fight against the strict Covid-zero police. A student in China first held up a blank sheet of paper on campus as an act of defiance. Ironically, even that blank sheet of paper was later confiscated by the school’s security staff, who were afraid of its so-called “bad influence.” This incident was recorded and quietly spread in a cloud drive link called “Today, College Students Across the Country” via WeChat’s Moments feed (Moments, or 朋友圈; it is a WeChat sharing feature where people can post text and pictures and share links with friends). At the same time, large numbers of people also began sharing other student protest art that was being staged at multiple universities throughout China. Inspired by the brave and encouraging student art protests in China, a group of UCLA students conducted a performance art piece at the UCLA Bruin Plaza in response to and in support of the ongoing White Paper Revolution.
The performance consists of two sections. In the first section, a girl covered with white paper holds a bushel of daisies in her hands and sits quietly in the center of the stage, where hundreds of white papers are scattered around her. Thirty minutes later, the performance enters its second phase as a person outfitted in a hazmat suit and a large tank of red chemicals strapped to his back approaches the girl and begins spraying her with “red chemicals.” The person in the hazmat suit repeatedly circles around the girl, spraying her body with chemicals, not stopping even after the girl is soaked in red chemicals. The performance does not stop until the tank in completely depleted of its supply of red chemicals.