“Stitching Dreams of Leaving, Dreams of Roots” . 2019-2023 . A durational performance at sites of arrivals, sites of departures, sites of longing, sites of isolation, sites of public gatherings, sites of becoming, sites of healing . A series of participatory workshops that re-imagines what a reconsidered pledge of allegiance may sound like to create a sense of home for all.

Nuttaphol Ma
Stitching Dreams of Leaving, Dreams of Roots
Words contain power. Some choose words to hurt, to demean, to bully, to disrupt, to scare. Some thread them together to create, to hope, to unify, to build, to fight! These two intents came to a clash on 14 Jul 2019 when the president divided the nation with hurtful words targeted towards four congresswomen of color. They were told to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Such xenophobic rhetoric has not only sparked a public outcry in support of the congresswomen but has ruptured past wounds of those who were also told to “go back” at some point in their lives.
I was one of them.
In an age of digital immediacy, when soundbites come and go in a split second, this one lingered, piercing deep inside. How to respond to such bullshit? Some choose to suppress their emotions, some choose humor as an outlet, some speak up. I speak through my artistic voice.
I turned inwards to question the relationship between our flag and the pledge to our flag. What will the social imagination of this relationship look like to create an equal footing for all? What will the flag look like? How will the pledge be worded? I began altering the solid red stripes with red tally marks. In place of the stars, I made markings of the Chinese character  (zheng). references tally marks as well and translates to being upright, just, and firm. Accompanying the altered flag, I’ve reconsidered and rewrote the pledge to the flag with a vision of a place with heart, a place with a welcoming sense of belonging. It reads: “I pledge allegiance to our Flag, one open Nation, in compassionate unity, with liberty and justice for all.”
For the coming years, I will move forward with these stitchings at sites of gatherings, sites of arrivals, sites of departures, sites of longing; and in the midst of the covid pandemic, these stitchings take residence at sites of isolation. 
Concurrently, I’ve created a participatory workshop aimed to reflect on how the pledge came to be, to consider the words in detail. The collective performance aspires to unpack these points through a series of facilitated writing and reflection exercises sequenced to guide participants to imagine what their pledge will be to achieve a sense of home for all. I will collect these reconsidered pledges, care for them. With time, I shall carry these words and recite them all at the reflecting pool of the Lincoln Memorial, the base of the Statue of Liberty, and along the shores of Angel Island.
Ephemera from these actions will be housed in a downloadable book to be gifted back to all participants. Copies will be gifted to the four congresswomen color for giving me the strength to undertake this project. Furthermore, copies will be sent to members of the house of representatives and the senate with the hope for a culture shift.
The following details my forthcoming public interventions from Oct 2019 to Sep 2020. Dates and sites from 2021 to 2023 will be posted by the end of 2020. Crossed out dates reflect original intentions but were cancelled due to covid. Dates are subject to change. Check for archived documentation of durational performance via Instagram @thechinaoutpost,  Twitter @thechinaoutpost and an interactive map of my public stitching.
Oct 2019
+ Fri 18Oct2019: 1p-3p . University of New Mexico Campus – Imagining America Conference . Student Union Building 3/F > Albuquerque, New Mexico
+ Sat 19Oct2019: 430p-6p . University of New Mexico – Imagining America Conference . Participatory Workshop 001 > Albuquerque, New Mexico
+ Sat 12Oct2019: 10a-1p . Santa Fe Railyard > Santa Fe, New Mexico
+ Sat 26Oct2019: 10a-1p . Santa Fe Railyard > Santa Fe, New Mexico
Jan 2020
+ Fri 17Jan2020: noon-2p . Badwater Basin > Death Valley, California
+ Sat 18Jan2020: noon-2p . Harmony Borax Works > Furnace Creek . Death Valley, California
+ Sun 26Jan2020: 1–3p . Union Station > Los Angeles, California
Feb 2020
+ Sat 01Feb2020: 1p-3p . Greyhound + Amtrak Station > Albuquerque, New Mexico
+ Sat 08Feb2020: 1p-3p . Greyhound + Amtrak Station > Albuquerque, New Mexico
+ Sat 22Feb2020: 1p-3p . Greyhound + Amtrak Station > Albuquerque, New Mexico
Mar 2020
+ Sat 14Mar2020: 1p-3p . Old Town Plaza > Albuquerque, New Mexico cxld due to COVID19
Apr 2020
+ Sun 05Apr2020: noon-2p . Santa Fe Railyard site of isolation (a ditch below railroad tracks)
Santa Fe, NM – due to COVID19
+ Sun 12Apr2020: noon-2p . Santa Fe Railyard >Santa Fe, New Mexico – due to COVID19
+ Sun 26Apr2020: noon-2p . Santa Fe Railyard site of isolation (vacant parking lot of home good store)
Santa Fe, NM – due to COVID19
May 2020
+ Sat 09May2020: noon-2p . Taos Plaza . Taos, New Mexico cxld due to COVID19
+ Sun 17May2020: 1-3p . Taos Plaza site of isolation (a place between an overgrown track and one under the sun) Santa Fe, NM – due to COVID19
+ Sat 23May2020: noon-3p . Angel Island Immigration Station > San Francisco, California cxld due to COVID19
+ Sat 30May2020: Noon-2p . Taos Plaza . Taos, New Mexico cxld due to COVID19
Jun 2020
+ Sat 13Jun2020: 10a-1p . Santa Fe Railyard > Santa Fe, New Mexico cxld due to COVID19
+ Sat 20Jun2020: 10a-1p . Santa Fe Railyard > Santa Fe, New Mexico cxld due to COVID19
+ Mon 29Jun2020: 10a-noon . site of isolation (under a derelict rail bridge) > Santa Fe, NM
Jul 2020
+ Sat 04Jul2020: noon-3p . Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool > Washington DC cxld due to COVID19
Aug 2020
+ Sat 29Aug2020: 10a-1230p . site of isolation (along decommissioned rail tracks) > Santa Fe, NM
Sep 2020
+ Sat 26Sep2020: 10a-1230p . site of isolation (along decommissioned rail tracks) > Santa Fe, NM
A publication will chronicle my forthcoming public stitchings from Oct 2019 through Sep 2020. I’m thrilled and honored to announce that this publication is funded in part by the Fulcrum Fund, a grant program of 516 ARTS made possible by The Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts.

The workshop contains the following core sections:

01/ Storytelling >>> I set out to contextualize the workshop with a personal story that has led to the creation of this workshop – shedding layers on the formation of the Pledge of Allegiance.

02/ Walk With Me >>> This session starts off with a guided breathing exercise to center one’s mind followed by a series of facilitated writing and sharing moments. They are sequenced to direct participants to arrived a re-imagined working pledge based on one’s personal experiences and one’s vision for a sense of home for all.

03/ Mapping our Collective Voices >>> Participants to virtually post their working pledges. Time will be given to reflect in silence. A debrief session will address thematic patterns that resonated with participants. Documentation of session’s common threads, the overall tone, and a transcription of all reconsidered pledges will be emailed to participants.

The following details the schedule for the forthcoming virtual participatory workshops (max per session: 5)

Workshop 002: Wed 21Oct2020 . 6p Mountain Time . Register via Zoom.
Workshop 003: Wed 18Nov2020 . 6p Mountain Time . Register via Zoom.
Workshop 004: Wed 13Jan2021 . 6p Mountain Time . Register via Zoom.
Workshop 005: Wed 17Feb2021 . 6p Mountain Time . Register via Zoom.
Workshop 006: Wed 17Mar2021 . 6p Mountain Time . Register via Zoom.
Workshop 007: Wed 14Apr2021 . 6p Mountain Time . Register via Zoom.
Workshop 008: Wed 12May2021 . 6p Mountain Time . Register via Zoom.
Workshop 009: Wed 16Jun2021 . 6p Mountain Time . Register via Zoom.
Workshop 010: Wed 14Jul2021 . 6p Mountain Time . Register via Zoom.
Workshop 011: Wed 11Aug2021 . 6p Mountain Time . Register via Zoom.
Workshop 012: Wed 08Sep2021 . 6p Mountain Time . Register via Zoom.
Workshop 013: Wed 06Oct2021 . 6p Mountain Time . Register via Zoom.
Workshop 014: Wed 10Nov2021 . 6p Mountain Time . Register via Zoom.

Groups (eg: universities, community centers, classes) interested in workshops or in-person participatory workshops, please send request to thechinaoutpost@gmail.com. Note that in-person workshops will adhere to current covid restrictions of the physical site.

Mighty Dreams: Designing and Fostering Belonging in ‘America’ . Imagining America National Gathering . Fri 18Oct – Sun 20Oct . University of New Mexico

Imagining America National Gathering @ UNM
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque . NM
The Imagining America (IA) consortium brings together scholars, artists, designers, humanists, and organizers to imagine, study, and enact a more just and liberatory ‘America’ and world. Working across institution, disciplinary, and community divides, Imagining America strengthens and promotes public scholarship, cultural organizing, and campus change that inspires collective imagination, knowledge-making, and civic action on pressing public issues. This year marks Imagining America’s 20th anniversary national gathering. The thematic focus of IA’s gathering is on designing and fostering belonging in ‘America’.
I’m thrilled and honored that IA’s steering committee has selected my workshop proposal as part of this year’s national gathering. My participatory workshop entitled “…with Liberty and Justice for All: Our Collective Voices of Laboring through the Re-writing, Re-imagining of the Pledge of Allegiance” will unpack the origins of the pledge to contextualize the facilitated writing and reflection exercises sequenced to guide participants to imagine what their pledge will be to achieve a more equitable space. The session will conclude with a participatory installation of these reconsidered pledges onto a delineated space in a form of a flag.

Conference Date: Friday 18Oct – Sunday 20Oct 2019
Location: University of New Mexico . Student Union Building
Conference General Information: Link
Conference Schedule: https://imaginingamerica.org/national-gathering/schedule/
“… with Liberty and Justice for All: Our Collective Voices of Laboring through the Re-writing, Re-imagining of the Pledge of Allegiance.”
Workshop Date/Time:  Saturday 19Oct . Session Block #4 . 430p-6p
Presenter: Nuttaphol Ma
Location: UNM Student Union Building . Level 3 . Mirage / Thunderbird Room

“Mindful Cartography : Connecting patterns and sequences of dreams, the everyday, the subconscious, the conscious to create wandering lines towards home” . Artist Talk . 24 Jul 2019 7p-830p . Ghost Ranch . Abiquiu . New Mexico

Ghost Ranch
280 Private Drive 1708 Hwy, US-84
Abiquiu NM 87510
Artist Talk
I’ve been invited to give at talk at a workshop entitled “Prophetic Action”.  The workshop explores the central role that creativity and art play in initiatives and movements that seek to bring about a more just and equitable world.
My talk, entitled “Mindful Cartography : Connecting patterns and sequences of dreams, the everyday, the subconscious, the conscious to create wandering lines towards home”, traces past and future works – pivotal moments by moments – to create a map that focuses on core questions that underline my projects.  These questions are: “How can I make work about life if I do not live? and “What can one person do to impart change?”
Date: Wed 24Jul2019
Time: 7p-830p
Site: Ghost Ranch

Wurlitzer Residency . 05Jun – 15Aug 2019 . Taos NM

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Wurlitzer Residency
Taos . New Mexico
05 Jun – 15 Aug 2019
I will be at the Wurlitzer Residency in Taos over the next few months.  Words cannot describe how thrilled I am! The alignment of my past dreams has led me to this forthcoming journey.  One involving walking from a riverbank upwards to what I recalled being an open field. The other involved wandering in the mountains and witnessing an Elder blessing a young child. During my residency, I will embrace these dreams and bring them to my conscious by setting my body in motion on this land. I will wander the mountains surrounding Taos. In solitude with the land, I will search routes from the base of the Rio Grande to the grand mesa. Recordings of these unfolding moments surrounding these gestures will give form to my essay film, creating a kinship between stories, journeys, words, moving images, and sound.

SFAI140 . Fri 16Nov18 . 6-9p . Santa Fe Art Institute . Santa Fe NM

Santa Fe Art Institute
1600 St. Michaels Drive
Santa Fe NM 87502
SFAI 140
SFAI140 is a dynamic 140-second presentation platform highlighting the inspiration and work of 20 artists-in-residence at The Santa Fe Art Institute and community leaders in and around Northern New Mexico.
I’m honored to contribute to this Fall’s SFAI140 where I will be reading excerpt from a short essay I wrote this past summer entitled “… with Liberty and Justice for All…”.  The piece sheds light on the origins of the pledge of allegiance and invites others to consider rewriting one’s own pledge in order to achieve a more equitable space.
Date:  Friday 16 Nov 2018
Time:  6p-9p
Site:  Santa Fe Art Institute
Link:  SFAI 140


The China Onscreen Biennial – Dunhuang Projected > Artists in Conversation . Sun 28Oct18 . 1p-230p . Fowler Museum at UCLA

The China Onscreen Biennial (COB)
@ Fowler Museum (UCLA)
308 Charles E Young Dr. N
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Dunhuang Projected : Artists in Conversation
I am honored to be a part of the China Onscreen Biennial in consortium with national cultural institutions including the UCLA Film & Television Archive, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Film at REDCAT and the Smithsonian Institution.
My film, entitled Wandering Movements, has been commissioned to be a part of COB’s Dunhuang Projected Sidebar – a short program that will be projected in the wait time before COB’s feature presentations for the duration of the Biennial.
Wandering Movements is inspired from a cave painting depicting a map of past devotees making pilgrimages to a sacred mountain of five plateaus (五台山).  The film tells a story of a migrant’s journey to his inner plateaus as he reflects upon his sites of struggles, the meaning of borders and the shaping of one’s identity.
The UCLA Film & Television Archive will host a special screening of all the commissioned works for the Dunhuang Projected Sidebar at the Fowler Museum.  The event will include my work along featured works of Erin Cosgrove, Inouk Demers, Tsai Charwei and Xie Caomin – followed by a discussion moderated by artist and Director of LA Freewaves Anne Bray.
Date:  Sunday 28 Oct 2018
Time:  1p – 230p
Site:  Fowler Museum at UCLA
+ Artists in Conversation @ Fowler
+ About the 4th China Onscreen Biennial


Remember Our Ancestral Tree . Sat 29Sep18 . 6p-10p . Burnside Farm > Detroit MI

Burnside Farm
Detroit . Michigan
Sat 29 Sep 2018 . 6p-10p
Remember Our Ancestral Tree . a performance by Nuttaphol Ma
Burnside Farm residents refer to the tallest tree living on their site as “Grandfather Maple”.  I’ve only seen photos of Grandpa Maple.  One of them stood out.  It depicted Grandpa Maple’s presence and how he cared for the land in the midst of debris. 
As Thais, we believe that spirits live in old trees like Grandpa Maple.  Oftentimes, we wrap cloths around such tree to signify that a spirit inhabits the tree.  At other places in Thailand that are facing deforestation, monks respond by ordaining trees residing within the endangered forest.  They wrap their orange robe around the trunk of the largest or oldest tree to ward off further cuttings. 
On 29 Sep, I shall make a pilgrimage to pay my respect to Grandfather Maple with a performance entitled Remember our Ancestral Tree.  At the base of Grandfather Maple I shall perform the act of wrapping a hand-dyed discarded fabric around the sacred tree.  The performance will engage with the Burnside community on a meditative journey of remembering our ancestors with simple gestures of writing, mark making and wrapping.  In the spirit of healing, the performance concludes with a ritual meal that I shall prepare to honor the tree, the ancestors of this land, and our personal ancestors.
A film screening will follow our communal meal.  The film, entitled “Flower Remember Year”, circles around serendipitous conversations that has led me to El Santuario de Chimayo to collect sacred soil from the site to be used to replant a tree that once existed at the back of my parent’s house as a way of making sense of my father’s diminishing health.  This tree blossoms fragrant flowers called “dawg jam bee”, which loosely translates to flower . remember . year.


Defining Detritus . 08Sep18 – 06Oct18 . Opening Reception Sat 08Sep 6-9p . Arena 01 Gallery

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Arena 01 Gallery
3026 Airport Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Defining Detritus
   curated by China Adams
“Defining Detritus brings together a group of Los Angeles based artists who share the practice of regularly working in collage – a medium that speaks specifically to the transient nature of material.  Collage celebrates the decayed, worn-out and cast-aside.  The exhibition offers a visual metaphor on how art can help us come to terms with our fragility (and even find beauty in it).” – China Adams
Participating artists: China Adams, Sandy de Lissovoy, Renée Fox, Jane Handel, Jacci Den Hartog, Doug Harvey, Seonna Hong, Jason Ellenburg Jones, Bernard Leibov (Boxo), John Luckett, Lilah Lutes, Nuttaphol Ma, Marisa Mandler, David McDonald, Michael Oliveri, Angela Stage, Don Suggs, Young Y. Summers, Jake Townsend, Ozzy Trujillo, Joan Weinzettle, Ewa Wojciak, Joan Wulf, HK Zamani, and Alexis Zoto.
Screen Shot 2018-09-06 at 19.42.43.pngThink towards arrival, but not of lost heart. – Nuttaphol Ma
For the exhibition, I present คิดถึงได้แต่อย่าเสียใจ (Kit tung dai, deh yah sieh jai).  They are words from a Thai elder which loosely translate to the title of my ephemeral sculpture – Think towards arrival, but not of lost heart.  The resulting work for the show gestures an act of ancestral veneration.  Using debris from newspaper and cast-off cardboard packaging material, I set out to collage these elements to construct a model of my ancestral house.  For the duration of the exhibition, the object becomes a temporal spirit house.  It rests on handcrafted sawhorses made from discarded wood scraps.  At the end of the exhibition, my family and I will cremate the house as an offering to our ancestors.  The ashes will be collected for my eventual pilgrimage to the highest peak of continental US.  There, I shall offer these ashes to the spirits in the sky.
08 Sep 2018 – 06 Oct 2018
Opening Reception:  Sat 08 Sep 2018 . 6p-9p
Gallery Hours:  Wed – Sat 12noon – 6pm
Phone:  310.397.7456
Link:  Arena 1 Gallery – Defining Detritus


Walk with Me . 24Aug18 – 14Sep18 . Reception > (opening) Fri 24Aug 5-8p (closing) Fri 14Sep 5-8p . Film Screening Thu 30Aug 730p-9p . Santa Fe Art Institute


Santa Fe Art Institute
1600 St. Michaels Drive
Santa Fe NM 87502
Walk with Me
SFAI Alumni Fellow Nuttaphol Ma presents Walk With Me, a contemplative installation about a migrant’s tale, a journey into the heart of Ma’s durational work of rebuilding his ancestral house. “I do not have much but what I do have are my body, my words and my actions. When woven together, humble acts and gestures placed onto contested sites become powerful voices of poetic resistance over the course of time.” Since 2011, Ma has taken on a lifelong project entitled “The China Outpost” which he defines as his nomadic sweatshop of one. The outpost operates within a migratory framework where Ma labors on transforming discarded plastic bags into threads – a material he will use as one of the core building materials for the eventual reconstruction of his great- grandfather’s home.
Walk With Me invites participants to wander within the lobby and gallery space at SFAI. Relics, artifacts and photo documentation of activities within The China Outpost fill the lobby space. A partial model of Ma’s ancestral house anchors the main gallery. The south wall is activated by a map of the outpost’s forthcoming transcontinental journey suggesting Ma’s radical cartographic approach in remapping “The Grand Army of the Republic Highway” with his body, actions and words. The north wall is blocked off by a handcrafted fabric wall that becomes the surface for Ma’s video projection of his durational walk along Highway 190 from the Badwater Basin to Whitney Portal.

Public programs to accompany the exhibition include the following:

SFAI Lunch Time Talk
Wed 25 Jul 2018 > 1200-100p
Title:  “Mapping The China Outpost: Temporal Settlements within a Cobweb of Contentious Spaces”
Description:  Nuttaphol Ma presents the context surrounding the formation of his on-going project entitled The China Outpost. Ma highlights significant events that shape its current migratory form.
Location:  SFAI Library
Link:  SFAI Facebook Event
Wed 12 Sep 2018 > 1200-100p
Title: “Work-in-Progress: How do I begin to talk about the spatial injustices that rest beneath the kindred sites of Angel Island and Shamian Island?”
Description:  Nuttaphol Ma examines the relationships between Angel Island and Shamian Island and how they relate to the future direction of The China Outpost project.
Location:  SFAI Library
Link:  SFAI Facebook Event
Film Screening
A series of films by Nuttaphol Ma will accompany the exhibition. Ma interweaves storytelling between each films to contextualize The China Outpost’s thematic exploration about invisible labor and her occupation of contested sites.
The films to be screened are the following:
+ Born by the River (28 min) . 2013
+ Shitpipe Explosion @ The China Outpost (28 min) . 2012
+ A Grain of Rice Under a Microscope (8 min) . 2013
+ The China Outpost > on the road @ Union Station (2 min) . 2014
+ The China Outpost > on the road . New Mexico . 01May027May2016 (15 min) . 2016
+ Mr. Proud, Why do I have to Memorize the Star Spangled Banner? (2 min) . 2017
Link:  SFAI / Walk wth Me / Film Screening / Nuttaphol Ma
24 Aug 2018 – 14 Sep 2018
Opening Reception:  Fri 24 Aug 2018 5p-8p with Artist Walkthrough @ 630p
Film Screening:  Thu 30 Aug 2018 730p-9p @ SFAI Lobby Space
Closing Reception:  Fri 14 Sep 2018 5p-8p
Gallery Hours:  Mon – Fri 10a – 5p
Phone:  505.424.5050
Link: SFAI / Walk with Me / Exhibition / Nuttaphol Ma

Walk with Me / Film Screening . Thu 30 Aug . 730p-9p Santa Fe Art Institute


Santa Fe Art Institute
1600 St. Michaels Drive
Santa Fe NM 87502
Nuttaphol Ma:  Walk with Me >>> Film Screening
A series of films by Nuttaphol Ma will accompany his Walk with Me Exhibition.  Ma interweaves storytelling between each films to contextualize The China Outpost’s thematic exploration about invisible labor and her occupation of contested sites. 
The films to be screened are the following:
Born by the River (28min) . 2013
From a chance finding of a B/W photo circa 1885 of an unknown Chinese laborer working in Death Valley, Nuttaphol Ma took on his persona to march out of Badwater Basin.  The resulting essay film questions the interpretation of the structural remnants of Harmony Borax Works, the laborer’s employer, as to why the plaque of this national landmark honors the owner and not the workers.  This absurdist undertaking exemplifies what one can do to break the silent norm. The work begins my probe into the ideals of the American Dream by revealing the spatial injustice of such contested sites.
Shitpipe Explosion @ The China Outpost (28min) . 2012
The short film captures an event that took place at The China Outpost, a self-imposed sweatshop created by Nuttaphol Ma at the basement of a defunct art gallery in Chinatown Los Angeles from 01 Oct 2011 to 31 Dec 2012. As a result of sewage water from the gallery’s toilet directly above the sweatshop overflowing into the space, Ma was told that part of the sweatshop was to be jack-hammered on 10 Feb 2012. In preparation for the event, Ma cut the site in half, one side to continue to iron while the other side to stage the workers’ excavation and realignment of the shitpipes below. Readings from Maxine Hong Kingston, Andrew Lam, dialogues between the unknown workers, sounds from Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, the saw, the pounding align the seemingly disconnected points to create murmurs between the spectacle of the mundane and the absurdity of the everyday.
A Grain of Rice Under a Microscope (8min) . 2013
The film’s undertaking was inspired from an event that took place at Ma’s retail day job on a busy Autumn Sunday in 2010. One of his colleague approached him looking deeply distraught. She saw our managers watching our activities on the sales floor from the office’s computer monitor making a “play-by-play” commentary of us. This exchange left the artist numbed – waking up the following day feeling like a grain of rice under a microscope.
In 2013, Ma set out to retrace his experience of that busy Autumn Sunday. Under his own terms, he performed the act of sitting and surveying in and around the premise of a fast food restaurant to mirror the 8 hour shift of the workers behind the counter. Two rolls of B/W super 8 film were deconstructed to shoot one frame for every four seconds in order to captured his 8 hour sitting where he recorded unfolding events and conversations that occurred between management, himself and two police officers.
The China Outpost > on the road @ Union Station (2min) . 2014
According to the statement of significance from National Register Nomination, “ Los Angeles Union Station, is a very handsome landmark that is a milestone in architectural history and the history of transportation in America.” What the statement of significance failed to acknowledge was the displacement of community members of what was the original Chinatown where the station is built upon. Ma’s site specific performance of re-situating and working within the mobile unit of The China Outpost at Union Station silently protested the spatial injustice that lies beneath the land. The durational performance of processing plastic bags into threads at this contested site invited curious passerby to meaningful conversation about my actions and the history of Union Station.
Whist there, Mike, a wanderer from St. Louis approached him. He asked the wanderer if he has family. His mother lives in Phoenix caring for his 84 year old grandmother. Ma asked him why not join them. He responded, “the house is too small.”
The China Outpost > on the road . New Mexico . 01May-27May2016 (15min) . 2016
Day in and day out, from 01May to 27May 2016, The China Outpost occupied parking lots of big box stores along Cerrillos Road – a major thoroughfare leading to Santa Fe that has eroded its intimacy to a web of megastores. The sociocultural interventions at these contested sites function as make-shift forums that invite curious passerby to open ended conversations about migration and the labor of adapting to a new home.
The month’s work is housed in an essay film that captured an unscripted journey culminating to a serendipitous conversation with the Governor of Abiquiu Pueblo named Ten Crows in which he posed an un-answerable question, that is … How do we free our oppressors?
Mr. Proud, Why do I Have to Memorize the Star Spangled Banner? (2min) . 2017
Invisible labor goes unseen, unheard and those who put in the labor repeat the task over and over again. It is an arduous conditioning of the mind to stomach the pace, the rhythm. It is heroic because collectively these unspoken tasks are the voiceless blood and tears of our socio-economic landscape. This site specific durational work transforms the gallery’s wall space into a form of a flag – a nameless, stateless flag that honors the heroic mundane with dimension repurposed from a typical drywall size flipped horizontally.
The video documents the labor of Ma’s wall markings that took place at Human Resources Gallery’s “off” hours at 8 hour shift intervals as part of his durational performance work. These hours replicated the graveyard shift suggesting not as an artist’s attempt to romanticize and patronize the idea of invisible labor but it was Ma’s honest truth. At the time of making this piece, the artist juggled jobs between multiple teaching sites and his retail day job. The only available hours in the day to navigate around his situation was from 11pm to 7am.

Place:  Santa Fe Art Institute
Date:  Thu 30 Aug 2018
Time: 730p – 9p
Phone: 505.424.5050
Link: SFAI / Walk with Me / Film Screening / Nuttaphol Ma