Thursday, October 15, 2015


Pix by Shantel Liao - Filming and in Studio - The Ghost  Project
The last time I blogged I noted that the weeks were going fast and time was speeding up…then it flew away so fast I couldn’t grab it…and before you know it is all over and you are winging your way back home.The chaos due to the days being jam packed with activities as my project came together with off site location filming, intensive studio rehearsals, the giving of a number of artist talks, writing and sound recording sessions with Yen-ting for our ABC Radio piece, and finally culminating in the public performance & presentation of The Ghost Project - Jhih.
With Shantel Liao, & Chi Hsuan Lin on the rooftop @TAV
Jhih showing - Stage 1 - in the Barrie Gallery @TAV
This was followed by post show celebrations, more travelling around Taiwan and then the goodbyes. An ache in the belly as you feel deeply all that you have discovered, learned and come to understand. The rich and diverse experiences, both shared and solitary.The places you have visited, the wonderful people you have met and come to know, to call friends and colleagues… 
It was a professionally busy time and also an emotional time. Dealing with the logistics of producing and presenting work, the technical and operational aspects, the letting go of some of your own expectations, a necessity of any residency, and the surprise of achieving other unanticipated and even more rewarding outcomes. An underlying feeling that you will return, and the hope that this might be a stage of a project and the beginnings of a cultural exchange that will grow and develop in new directions. Perhaps we will make this work in both Australia and Taiwan…watch this space!

There were little gem-like moments such as meeting previous Asialink TAV resident Cath Brophy, who provided me with much need support and advice before I came to Taipei, and then arrived on her own adventure in my final days. Her love of Taiwan now well entrenched and from my side mutually shared. Really delightful to share with another alumni the unique experience that being here was, and is!
Cath Brophy & me
Another highlight was on my final afternoon participating in an installation, as part of Ting-YU Tseng’s exhibition (part of the Cross Strait Chinese Character Art Festival which focused on contemporary commentaries around the art of calligraphy) at the impressive monument that is Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall. Taking tea in the public gallery with Ting, one of my earliest collaborators on Jhih, with other members of the team, now friends, Li Hui Huang (& her partner Robert) and Wan Ying Tsai was a genuine moment of connection and delight as we gently debated once again the act of art in translation. 

In the final days it was a blur of rehearsals, packing, presentations, gift buying…visiting Treasure Hill a final time to see the conclusion of projects by other resident artists; Tadayuki Tahara's exhibition, and once more the wonderful work of performance maker and contemporary Japanese Butoh artist Yuko Kaseki. Saying goodbye to the team who has supported me at Taipei Artist Village, Director/CEO Dar Kuen Wu, Manager I-Hua Lee, and my wonderful host (ess!) Wan Ying Tsai.

With I-Hua & Dar Kuen
Wan Ying Tsai
In my final week I travelled right round Taiwan, tired but also eager to see a little more of this country I have grown so fond of. A fast Train to Tainan City, a day of sightseeing, a lane way B & B, then back on the rail ways through the mountains to Taitung. Another hotel stop, tour bus up the East coast, a walk around the village of Dulan (including visiting the old sugar factory art complex) and another evening back in town again enjoying new tastes, temples and busy street life. On the train up the East coast to Hualien, another hotel, and along with my flagging energy a sense that as the weather was changing, the days cooler, the sky grey and grim, my time was coming to an end. 
Dulan coast
Tainan city

Back in Taipei a crazy night watching the Aussie Rules preliminary final eating pizza and drinking quantities of beer brought ‘home’ sharply into focus...(nothing like your team losing…vale the Dockers for 2015) My last day spent wrapping things up, cleaning and squeezing a large suitcase tightly closed. Final shows, goodbye drinks, and a mid-night coffee with my fellow Asialink arts resident HsuYen-ting and it was time to take a 4am cab to begin the pilgrimage back to Perth...The moment of Déjà vu as the night security guard got me to sign for my key…this time out, and then it was good bye, well, for now...and thankyou.

Alive or dead, they come, anyway.
What is it you have to say, you who keep
coming to me in sleep, in dreams.
I see you, and you and you and you.

Visible, invisible, a passing through,
walk alongside right next to you.
No touch, only breath upon your neck,
a cinnamon scent, a smokiness.
The breath is warm as sweat trickles
down neck and back, tracing its track.

Yes, there was flesh once,
All has faded away,
All that is left are shadowy notes that
whisper upon the air
to remind me that once you were there

And so was I

(excerpt from Jhih)
Oh, and the best part of going of course coming your family and loved ones.
Me with my son Yvan
*** Please check out side pages for additional updates & images; Ghost Project - Filming 1 & 2, Training around Taiwan, & Jhih showing.

Some additional thoughts on a residency 

Be open – to new opportunities, experiences, food, whatever!

Be flexible – understanding that nothing will quite work out as you imagine.
Grab the moment – often an offer is not repeated, be it for a meeting, travel, an event, a shared experience.

Try to make time to travel away from your residency base, experience the place you are in and further afield if you can manage it.

Contact and arrange to meet people prior to arrival and in the early days of your time there; it is important to reach out early on, to begin all kinds of conversations.  
Initiate: conversations, connections, ask questions, invite discussion and debate, listen and learn the stories of this place.

Go to as much as you can; exhibitions, talks, events, shows, performances, galleries, arts related and all kinds of other activities.

Have time out: for research, reading, exploring, wandering and wondering, allow for reflection, dreaming, imagining…to follow your thoughts wherever they take you.

Move: Don’t get stuck in the studio or on a lap top. Get out and about; walk, bike, get into public transport, hike, swim…etc.

Documentation: take pictures, write, make drawings, scrap books, film..etc. 
Challenge yourself in new directions, experiment, question your own practice...and yes, a residency is ultimately what you make of it!

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” (Mark Twain)

Monday, September 7, 2015

Rites, Rituals and offerings

I am now in the final phase of my Asialink residency. After the half way mark everything definitely starts to speed up, and with Summer  over and Autumn now here work on my project intensifies. As we move towards a final showing date relationships develop and grow with the resident artists, staff, collaborators and new friends. There is a connection that is made that comes with living for an extended period in the same environment, and I am experiencing that this is one of the quiet joys a residency offers, a meaningful connection to people and place, and the invitation to a deeper level of understanding.  
There is too a re-visiting of places viewed earlier, a looking closer, and the noticing of detail overlooked first time around. I find with an altered awareness you can view the same from a fresh perspective. I have particularly appreciated this re-visiting and returning to various places, something we don’t tend to do when we are tourists. When you return to a site, temple, building or gallery more than once, you encounter it afresh, from another angle, perhaps at a deeper level, all the while sensing and experiencing the changes that have occurred within you. You look with different eyes, and find perhaps the smaller detail of things you missed or another layer to the experience. Perhaps too it can be just that the day is sunny, your mood equally so and you are not needing a map or guide book to find your way! I have been made aware of how we create patterns, routines, and even routes that we repeat, how they become familiar and reassuring and that we do this wherever we are. You have made a temporary home, you have come to know your neighbourhood, the local park you run in, where you get your favourite Taiwanese pancake breakfast, your lunchtime pork rice or wonton soup with vegetables.The supermarket doesn’t seem so overwhelming with its array of products and mysterious labels…and always where there is good coffee to be found! At the same time there is this sense of ending as residencies conclude and once new faces, now familiar, begin to leave, and goodbyes are said…With the change in season has come more rain, and a lowering of the temperature, definitely there is a feeling of ‘last days of Summer’ in the air…perhaps feeding my sense of growing nostalgia and melancholy!

Hsu Yen-Ting recording Longshan Temple parade
Hsu Yen-Ting and I have been busy following Ghost Month activity for our ABC Radio program. As well as capturing the Taipei street action of table offerings and paper burnings we participated in the Lantern ritual of Longshan Temple. What started with us following the parade through the streets, watching and recording the crowds, the traditional music & Buddhist ritual chanting and prayers, ended with us on the back of a temple truck on a wild open air ride to the river’s edge. After the crush, noise and smoke of the previous ceremony here we witness a more intimate event as a small group of followers silently release individual lantern ‘houses’ into the still water. It was unexpected and I loved the random nature of running with what happened and our own participation in it! We rode back on the truck to the temple chatting to staff arriving to firecrackers popping as we drove through the temple gates. Here we made our own incense offerings adding our thoughts and wishes into the smoky scented air.  
Longshan Temple offerings
Lanterns float downstream
My experiences of Ghost Month have been really interesting and different to what I imagined. Even though there are bigger events held in towns such as Keelung, the month long festival retains a personal aspect. You see the community visibly honoring ‘hungry ghosts’ as individual buildings, businesses and temples set up tables on the street, making their offerings and saying their prayers. Each table with its own unique combination of food, flowers, gifts, ‘treats’, candles and smoking incense. Most made complete with stool, a washing bowl with water, towel and even a fresh face cloth & toothbrush for the ghost to use as they ‘consume’ the offerings placed in their honour. Driving through small towns around Yilan this last weekend I was again struck by the sight of family groups making offerings and burnings in front of their homes and work places. This is not ritual as tourism, or a jingoistic papered festival celebration such as Easter, it is personal, meaningful, and ordinary in a way that is moving to witness. I don’t mean it is always undertaken with religious fervor, or even with a ‘real’ belief in ghosts (though many do ‘believe’), rather it is a part of everyday life and not emptied of its own place and meaning in the greater scheme of things. 
Ritual offerings and burning of paper 'money' to appease 'hungry' ghosts - Dihua District
It seems to me this ritual expression of acknowledging the ‘hungry ghost’ is also a collective way of recognising the shadow or the ‘other’, the mixture of ambivalent feelings that might be seen as attached to the unfulfilled life.The tales of hauntings, of ‘ghosts’ wanting to be ‘heard’ and avenged, a way for the darkness and disillusionment of life to be articulated and laid to rest.The burnings and gifts to departed and lonely souls a way to appease and perhaps release emotions of disappointment and frustration, loneliness and longing, the troubling and difficult feelings that can not be openly expressed. A time to contemplate the unresolved endings, lost hopes and dreams from the past that each of us carries within, and a moment to acknowledge ‘ghosts’ both living and dead. It makes a lot of sense when you think about it…to sweep away the regrets and remonstrations of those roaming spirits and their shadows and light up what lies beneath the surface of the water. (view side page for more images)

With our joint exhibition False Start: Situtational Exploratorium now up and running my focus is on the development of my own version of a ‘Ghost’ project Jhih. I am busy in the TAV studio collaborating with local dancers & performers to explore some of the outcomes from my research and writing. It feels the right time to be bringing into animation and motion the thoughts and images I have been creating in my mind and on paper. We have two fairly intense weeks together including some filming, and then we will show the work in progress to an invited audience at an event here at TAV on the 18th. It has also become very much about translation and communication as I work with mainly Chinese speaking artists, and even though I have a translator I am enjoying the experience and some of the laughs that inevitably result from the process. Never mind my hilarious attempts to demonstrate what I am trying to create! But trust me I have a go, and the performers assure me, ‘no ‘it’s OK, OK..’ so, it will be interesting to see where we are in a few weeks time…

My favourite shot from the Opening
False Start Opening
I continue to walk Taipei enjoying the process of discovery on a daily basis. Temples of all shapes and all sizes, a corner turned at night and in a park a one man puppet show is underway. There is a hidden beauty in the older areas of the city, experiencing the array of personalities of shop keepers in the Dihua district, and in photographing architecture, people and places. (view side pages) Before my walking compnaion TAV resident Helene departs back to France we trek up Elephant Mountain to take in the city vista at night, eat at an infamous dumplings restaurant Din Tai Fung, visit the Lin Family Mansion & Gardens buried in a semi-industrial Fuzhong, and find a local banquet house with more diverse desserts of every kind on display that I have possibly ever witnessed! (including a chocolate fondue with popcorn). After eating a massive steak we do a multiple taste test on the cake selection and declare our winner! More walks, night markets, attending performances, along with a delicious discovery; a 1950's style cafe that does superb coffee & cookies in Ximen. Helene and I have enjoyed some wonderful times so it was sad to wave her goodbye. 
Helene Juillet - TAV resdient
Recent days have seen me with Yen-Ting visit Yilin (Ilan), head up into the mountains to historic town of Shifen where we sample traditional foods such as mifanshu (sweet potatoes cooked in white sugar), visit Houtong, a former coal mining town, now a designated 'cat village' totally devoted to domestic 'stray' cats, visit the lush waterfall country around Jiaoshi, and view the jet black sands of Wai’ao ‘surf’ Beach. Rich experiences and many laughs, especially in ‘cat-town’, which has to be seen to be believed! 
Homes for strays
Yen-Ting in 'cat-town'
Wufengqi Falls
This last week I welcomed WAAPA dance exchange student Michelle Aitken to Taipei, here to begin her own Taiwanese rite of passage with a five month dance exchange program at Taiwan National University of Fine Arts. I have enjoyed seeing through her eyes the fresh discovery of the unknown sharing with her some of my now favourite places...and food!
Michelle Aitken, Ximen at night
I have attended more presentations by residency artists including Bamboo Curtain’s Open studio, a Taiwanese community space that delivers a range of public art programs, local and international residencies.(see side page) I also witnessed the extraordinary solo performance Shoot Jeez By Gosh by contemporary Butoh performer/creator Yuko Kaseki. Inspired by visual artist Henry Darger’s fantasy world that juxtaposes innocence with violence this was a spellbinding hour as she transformed and contorted her body expressing powerfully some of the horrors of war and the loss of innocence of those affected. Given recent current events relating to the Syrian refugee crisis, the work is timely and I was moved to tears by her rendering of a young boy trying to play ball and his desperate efforts to be included in the game. Her singular expressiveness as a solo performer, her humility, humanity and her vulnerability is compelling and mesmerising. 

Bamboo Curtain studio visit

Yuko Kaseki
My Taipei Arts Festival experience continued with two Australian presentations; the extraordinary Dirtsong by Black Arm Band & the Taiwanese/Australian contemporary dance program eXchange. Dirtsong featured a full band, and 5 incredible Indigenous singers with Sangpuy Katatepan Mavaliyw, a local Taiwanese guest artist, joining them for a set. It was presented in language and was a polished, yet raw, open and heartfelt performance by these artists. The original screen content by Daybreak Films (Aus) accompanying the work is outstanding and enhanced the experience taking us into Australian Indigenous heartlands, with its black & white images of country and people. Sitting in the auditorium there was a moment when I also truly felt a long way from home. eXchange,a collaboration between Fragment 31 and local company Century Contemporary Dance Company, was a combined program of new works commissioned for the Festival. The 6 newly minted short pieces, three by Taiwanese artists and 3 by Australian choreographers were a mix of style, content and form. The artists ranged from the emerging to the experienced with the works clearly reflecting this in terms of their level of sophistication and delivery. The effort to integrate the history and dynamics of the Gaunfu Auditorium, a 50’s style cavernous hall-space (complete with massive chandeliers) into the works them selves was less successful, and for the most part diminished the impact of the individual works. Choreographer/performer Melanie Lane (Aus) wisely created a defined performance space within the space contributing to the overall power and effectiveness of her tightly constructed and focused solo work. The process and the exchange itself was clearly the winner here, with this a lunch pad to future collaborations. Attending the post-show artist talk the participants spoke to the strong and meaningful creative and personal connections they had made with Taipei and each other. 

eXchange team
I have found this the gift of the residency, the meetings with new people, the connections and conversations, not only on art, art-making and the living of a creative life, but also on politics, history, culture, place, and yes, food! Also the unexpected collaborations, for example, this last week I sat for local emerging photographer Shantel Liao. Becoming a participant in her global project, a photographic study of people, place and the important objects that we carry with us on our travels. And yes, for all the activity there are also days and hours of solo time, experiencing those moments of tough inner questioning, feeling challenged by circumstances (various!) and sometimes merely being a long way away from home…

..All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. And we must pass through solitude and difficulty, isolation and silence in order to reach forth to the enchanted place where we can dance our clumsy dance and sing our sorrowful song. (Pablo Neruda)

Friday, August 21, 2015

Ghost Month 鬼月 and other developments

Dear John by M.O.V.E Theatre
Post the devastation of Typhoon Soudlor the Taipei street clean up happened rapidly and efficiently, although there are now strange ‘gaps’ where once certain trees stood or branches used to be. Following on the theme of ‘now you see me now you don’t’, my research and reflection on all things ‘ghostly’ continues… 
Here is Taiwan, and throughout much of Asia, ‘hauntings’, it seems, are an inevitable part of existence. That shadowy world where all that is unresolved from life, its histories, stories, and conflicts dwell…Taking that further, all we won’t and don’t deal with, be it people, politics, place…or the past (make that skeletons various). For the superstitious, ‘they’ are merely waiting to reach out and grab us if we are caught out unawares, and 'they' must be appeased…but perhaps ‘they’ have us in their grip in ways we can only begin to imagine…but more on Ghost’s later…
The clean up!
Here at the TAV most of us are busy preparing for our resident artist joint exhibition False Start: Situational Exploratorium that opens on August 28. I will be exhibiting 4 dance films (Standing Bird, Standing Bird 2, The Drover’s Wives & Mermaid X) under the title: Through the Eye of the Lens: Dance on film - video explorations and experimentation with physical narratives (2008-15). As part of the exhibition program my current work in progress The Ghost Project Jhih (Dance + Theatre + Film) will be showcased on September 18 in a performance presentation followed by an artist talk/forum facilitated by exhibition curator Yen-Yi Lee. 
Yen-Yi Lee

This will be the culmination of my residency project that I have been researching and developing around stories, mythologies and more broadly the theme of Ghosts, exploring the concept of absence/presence and ‘haunted’ histories. I am also excited to be making a short radio documentary for ABC Radio who have commissioned sound artist Hsu Yen-ting (Asialink resident Fremantle Arts Centre) and myself to make a short feature currently titled: Hungry Ghost Month in Taiwan: Taiwanese Ghosts and modern day hauntings for their Earshot program. I will be posting more about the making of this soon.Recent weeks have been very much about research and exploring practice and methodology in addition to experiencing the diverse development processes of others. I have run 3 workshops under the title PhysicalNarratives:Exploring contemporary dance/theatre creation & practice. This has proved a great introduction enabling me to share with local performers, performance makers and directors, and we will continue working together exploring and developing The Ghost Project over the coming weeks. (see side page for more workshop pix)

I enjoyed sitting in with local Taiwanese Contemporary dance theatre company Horse who were running a sound based movement workshop here at TAV with sound designer/composer Yannick Dauby. I also went out to Taiwan University of Arts to see an open Rehearsal of M.O.V.E Theatre’s Dear John, a remount of a work that will be coming to the OZ Asia Festival later this year. This interdisciplinary work is an inventive, subtle, and entrancing encounter of the senses. Inspired by the music of composer John Cage and utilising new (and ‘old’) technologies the team generate sound, light and movement in this interactive performance installation. The audience freely move and engage with the various elements of this playful sound lab that seamlessly incorporates original live mainly percussive instrumentation, abstract movement and shadow play amongst its inventive features. A magical experience and one of the most interesting and stimulating performances I have attended to date here in Taipei. 

We also had the chance to catch up with Australian Director/producer Leisa Shelton (Fragment 31) and the Taipei Dance X-Change company who are here to collaborate and present their 3 x 3 new works program for the Taipei Arts Festival (post Dance Massive).TAV artists mixed with Treasure Hill artists in an evening of welcome and creative conversation, and we are looking forward to seeing their show and spending some more time together over this month. 
TAV & THV Resident Artists X-Change
TAV resident artists eteam held an in studio first time informal showing so we could view their self-produced feature length film Space Delay. This work takes the form of a video documentary/diary/performance of their strange and dream-like road trip in the US in search of land they had bought on e-bay, (but had never received the deeds to). This is an in-the-moment recorded experience of some pretty dodgy hotels and restaurants that felt like location film-sets as they ‘stalked’ these evasive landowners across the country. The journey was accompanied by narrated philosophical reflections on absence and presence, bizarre coincidences, and includes text from Hitchcock’s film Vertigo through to Bob Dylan amongst other quoted sources. Sitting with beer in hand on the floor in a Taipei studio it felt pretty surreal viewing!! It was great to attend their artist talk later in the week to discover more about their unique process and methodology. They never did track down the family whose property they bought, but it certainly proved great material for a rich and searching film about contemporary identity, the online community, privacy and surveillance.
eteam Artist talk
I have been continuing my walking, hiking and travels, locally visiting Lin An Tai House (one of the oldest still existing in Taipei) and the busy Xingtian temple as well as the historic hot spring town of Beitou, just out of Taipei. (view side page Taipei Tourist for more info & pix
Xingtian Temple

Lin An Tai House
Beitou Hot Spring (and me)
Then traveling further afield I undertook a short 3 day adventure to Hong Kong and ferried across to the historic Portuguese port settlement now casino land of Macau. I was here for meetings and to witness the absolute eye-popping circus-theatrical extravaganza of Dragone’s House of Dancing Water. Seated with a courtesy Moet in hand, there is no subtlety to this superb spectacle. Its routinely water-drenched audience (in complimentary ponchos) lapped up this high energy performance where ship-wrecks, floating pontoons and temples appear and disappear into water that jets, spurts, floods, and then drains on cue across the show. A ‘flabbily’ loose love story involving the predictable struggle of good versus evil in their customary power battle sees lovers re-united and, as a contemporary twist, the once ‘poor’ young man from ‘China’ triumphs as the powerful ‘new’ ruler of this magical world. It is wonderful and wild and outrageous in equal measure…a hanging human chandelier with about 10 aerialist duos moving in well-oiled synchronicity is seriously gob-smacking, and motorbikes flying through the air above you…Why not? Any connection to anything in the storyline? Well no one seemed to mind or think it mattered all that much. An unforgettable experience in every way imaginable!!
Taipa, Macau - Casino world, a city of contrasts
Town Square, Old Macau
Ruins of St. Paul, Macau

And meanwhile Hungry Ghost Month has begun…..
With roots in Buddhism, the Hungry Ghost Festival is a time of honouring ancestors and appeasing the ’hungry’ ghosts or malevolent spirits (also called ‘Good Brethren’) that wander in the world of the living when the ‘Gates of Hell’ are opened once a year. Religion and belief in Taiwan is a mix of Buddhism, Taoism and Chinese folklore, and the Taiwanese are considered a particularly superstitious people. "87% of office workers said to believe in Ghosts." (China Post) Significantly this honouring of the ‘hungry ‘ ghost it is based on a widespread belief throughout Asia that a person’s spirit continues to exist after the death of the physical body, and that they are capable of affecting the lives of the living for either ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

So what’s a Hungry ghost?

The hungry ghosts are ancestors not given a proper funeral or burial, or who have no family to maintain ancestor veneration/worship ie: make offerings to them on a regular basis. They may have died a violent or ‘unhappy’ death. Suicide, accident or drowning…interestingly, they may also be ‘unmarried women’, who are viewed as particularly ‘troublesome spirits’ who tend to exist in this limbo land as they are unattached and unable to be looked after by family. If a ghost is ‘unhappy’ in the afterlife it is believed that they have the ability to influence the lives of the living by bringing them bad luck.

These Gates of Hell are opened once a year during the Hungry Ghost Month and all the lost and hungry ghosts of hell are free to roam the living world. To appease these lost souls and to prevent them from causing the living harm or injury (or dragging them back into the underworld), people put food out for the ghosts to enjoy. Elaborate ceremonies and rituals are also performed to please the ghosts. They are often called ‘hungry’ ghosts as they cannot swallow. Ghosts are said to be recognised by their dishevelled hair, hem-less garments, lack of a shadow or footprint, a red glow, short-sightedness, fiery lips and mouth. (Not hard to miss!)

This year ‘Ghost Month’ in Taiwan will run from August 14 to September 12 with key activities around 27 – 30 August. Here’s a extensive list of some of the many taboos I have discovered around Ghost Month.
Offering table & burning of paper money outside local boutique

10 or more things to avoid in Ghost Month

1. Start a relationship, get engaged or married. (all will end badly!)
2. Do not celebrate a birthday, a funeral or have a baby or undergo any form of surgery.  (hmmm could be challenging)
3. Do not start a business, move or buy a house or car, travel and yes…this has an actual downturn effect on the local economy.
4. Do not swim…ghosts live/hide out in water.
5. Do not leave wet clothes hanging outside overnight. (Ghosts are known to hop inside of the clothes)
6. Do not sleep with dishevelled (messy) hair (as you may be mistaken as one of them)
7. Avoid saying the word ‘ghost’…do not say out loud where you live, sing or whistle, or play a tin whistle or stay out after dark …(all could attract unwanted attention)
8. Don’t wear red (it attracts ghosts) or black (ghost’s will think you are one of them and they are attracted to these colours)
9. Don’t step on or pick up offerings, or anything you see on the ground…especially money (they may have put it there to catch you) and keep away from walls and also trees as ghosts ‘stick’ to them.
10. Don’t spit, stare at a fire, or open an umbrella at night! And don’t turn around when someone taps you on the shoulder.

    * Burn incense and light candles and make special offerings of prayers and food/drink for ‘hungry ghosts’ /lost souls and deceased relatives as gesture of support/care.You can often see appearing specially set tables outside shops and businesses.
    * Burn ritual joss paper money ‘hell bank notes’ and ‘goods’ (usually paper mache copies of cars, houses etc.) to ‘please’ the ghosts. Burning is how items are sent to the spirit world.
    * Hold a feast on the 14th day of the 7 lunar month and light lanterns to show the ghosts the way back to Hades/hell/the 'other' place.
    * Give a special and often colourful live performance (opera etc) and keep a front row of seats empty so the ghosts have somewhere to sit.
    * Maintain place settings at your dinner table for those who might want to come and eat with you.

      Now on Ghost Brides, Ghost weddings…and more, you will need to read my next posting….

      Undertaking a residency is a rich and wonderful experience on so many levels…but it wouldn’t be worth it if it didn’t have its various challenges too…
      When I finish this letter I will go back in the studio and wonder yet again:
      What on earth am I doing? Fortunately one step leads to another, but
      they are not like words in a sentence making sense.
      (Geoffrey De Groen - painter)
      TAV Workshop participant