Surrender Ideas

I often forget that I live in a country at war: the United States at war with Iraq, red and blue states at war with each other, and children with guns at war in the public schools. I challenge myself to hear the complexities, respect the outrage, accept the justifications, recognize the fear, embrace the sorrow, and acknowledge the denial, because I am descended from survivors of forced migration.

My grandparents fled China during World War II. I am touched by their hardships as well as ceremonies of healing. Surrender combines singing and t’ai qi to reach a state filled with strength and compassion, so I can continue to be engaged with my country at war.

I use text from the Dao De Jing because of the potential for transformation contained in the Chinese ideograms of Verse 22. These include the images for missing, confused heart, hands pull apart, sun disappears, claws, chopping sound, crimes of the mouth, freedom of speech, put away for safe-keeping, hands give, retold through 10 mouths, and plants rise from the ground.

With hip hop poet Aaron Jafferis, I merge Mandarin and English text. The t’ai qi movements for 24 performers are forever mindful of taking the next step.