"Protection" Interactive performance was presented at PANOPLY PERFORMANCE LABORATORY (PPL) in Surreal Estate, on Sunday November 14th, 2010, at as part of the Bushwick Exhibition Triangle of Alternative (BETA) Spaces festival.
"Protection" is a dramatization of the physical susceptibility individuals are made to suffer in face of political and social measures supposedly designed for their mutual benefit. As in most of Yang's performances, "Protection" recreated the divisiveness individuals experience within and around themselves, exploring the emotional sub-texture that underlies a media-centered world bent on reducing truth to spectacle.
Yang's work originally stems from a deep study of Lao Tzu and the philosophy of Taoism—but he has since come to incorporate the actual rhythms and discords of human society, exhibiting them in terms of the waste materials wantonly discarded by human production. Both disturbing and entrancing, Yang's work captures the complex state of anxiety and compulsive-fascination specific to the problems of our time. The dramatization of "Protection" represents more than masochistic denial—it enacts the divided quality of a society that shelters the privileged Self while victimizing the Other. The discordant theme of the performance, highlighted by the artist's susceptibility to harm, portrays a world where social destiny and individual freedom awkwardly co-exist. Ultimately, it is not the violent implications, or the potential for gore, that Yang presents his audience—but rather the need for compassion, to make more than gestures at the tragedies people suffer throughout the world.
Yang's work is at once irreverent, philosophical, and inescapably political. The images he casts are generally those of someone wholly taken in by the literal promises of political leaders. Though often presented through deranged characterizations, Yang's performances retain much of what is generally valued by the status quo—a life of ease, abundance, and acceptance to majority rule. A person is generally valued for his or her social status, which leaves the mind in an obscure position, unsought for by utilitarian logic. What remains are exterior attributes: physique, clothes, resumes of potential. Yang's work cuts through this surface texture, reenacting what lies behind the sheen of appearances. Working past the commercialized images of world affairs, Yang presents an exploded diagram of what underlies the words marketed by politicians.