3AM June 17, 2014

The whole project came from one of my dreams. 

In my dream, I was commanded to murder an old lady. I came to her house and hid beside a tree, which was in front of her bedroom window. She was lying on the bed, and a female bodyguard sat beside her. Her bedroom was filled with warm light. Her bed frame was made from gold; the floor from rosewood. The setting implied that she was important and rich. I aimed at her through the window. Suddenly, her bodyguard noticed me and started chasing me. We ran into a bamboo grove and fought.

At that time, my consciousness transferred to the old lady's body. I was lying on the bed alone; there was a photo of my late husband on the nightstand. I heard my daughter on the phone in another room. Our relationship was hardly good. My bodyguard left the room trying to protect me. I reviewed my whole life, and then everything around me started blurring.

The moment I regained consciousness as an assassin, the bodyguard killed me. At the same time, the old lady on the bed also closed her eyes and died.

When I woke up, I realized there were two versions of myself in the dream. The younger one was the murderer, and the elder one was the target.

The characters in my dream failed to understand the relationship they had with one another.

The bodyguard who thought she was protecting me simultaneously killed me with her own hands.           

After I had finished the video version of my dream, I started to realize some deep meanings in the dream.

Starting with the Opium War in 1840, China was invaded and colonized by Western countries until 1945. Because of our humiliating history, most people in China believe everything from the West is modernized and therefore better. Thus, I feel the younger version of myself (the Assassin) is the person who was affected by our unconfident past as nation. The Assassin accepts an order to kill others without questioning, just like Chinese people imitate Western people and forget to consider their own heritage. The elder version of myself (the old lady) is my goal of the future. I wish to have a golden bed, rosewood floor, and shining room; I want to be important and wealthy. The setting in my dream is where I’d like to reside later in life. However, due to all of my family members being true Communists, they always educated me not to pursue a luxurious lifestyle. In my dream, my husband had already passed away, and my only remaining family—my daughter— left me alone. The female bodyguard wears a costume from the Beijing opera(no one cares about traditional drama now), and she kills the younger version of me with only a knife while I was carrying a gun. I think in my subconsciousness the bodyguard is a symbol of traditional Chinese culture. Chinese people used to call guns "Western guns" in the 18th century. In my mind, Chinese culture rapidly killed Western culture with a little knife, just how my bodyguard killed the younger version of myself with a knife while I was carrying a gun. I know deep down I love my culture, but my culture and I both forget I am also a production of society and years of history. Chinese culture protects me from being assassinated while simultaneously killing me. Both versions of myself are dead because I can have various minds, but only one single life. Finally, the bodyguard (traditional Chinese culture) survived, but, did my culture save me? Or, did I sacrifice myself for my culture?