‘The other tea party’
"Working with artist Mark Storor and nine students from Central Saint Martins, UAL, in the small seaside town of Jaywick. Funded by Essex Council.
The students work was situated around the town on Saturday 8th June 2019. Mark Storor will continue to be in residence in Jaywick until September 2019" Sarah Cole
The first two visits to Jaywick have left me with a deep impression, I remember my first short small talk with the man on the Boleyn Way road, the two hair salons’ rejection, the lady who lives in Sea Flowers road wished me good luck…..and a deeper conversation with the Chinese and Fish and Chips take away Sun Yau’s owner, Mr. Liu. The story of Mr.Liu left me reflecting my own experience as a diasporic Chinese who’s living in overseas. Of course, in Mr. Liu’s case, living in a town with a small amount number of minority is way harder beyond my imagination. The language barrier is one of the factors to hold him back from engaging with the local. And the two never fully translatable cultures kept Mr.Liu and his family always stay behind the Sun Yau’s counter….
I see my role in this project is a cultural translator and narrator for Mr. Liu and his family, through the rituality of the performance of Chinese tea ceremony to connect Mr. Liu and his most regular customers, bonding beyond language, through a different form of communication and cultural exchange. While trying to connect Mr.Liu and the locals, I also performed the tea ceremonies at different locations, same time same location in the morning, different locations in the afternoon. The repetitions of my tea ceremony mise-en-scenes is my aim to ‘test’ the possibility of engaging with people as an outsider. During the four morning tea ceremony sessions, I found a really subtle way to engage with my neighbours: to be present. The repetition itself becomes a language of inviting and vocalising my existence. On the last day of my performance, I was already ‘the usual’ to people who encounter the mise-en-scene every day.