“Stitching Dreams of Leaving, Dreams of Roots” . 2019-2023 . a durational performance at sites of arrivals, sites of departures, sites of longing, sites of public gatherings, sites of becoming, sites of healing.

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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 markings and stitching red threads over them whilst at the Wurlitzer Residency in Taos this past summer. In place of the stars, I made markings of the Chinese character (zheng) which will be stitched over with blue threads. (zheng) loosely translates to being upright, just, firm and also functions as tally marks as well. Accompanying the altered flag, I’ve reconsidered and rewrote the pledge to the flag in order to make room for 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 public gatherings, sites of arrivals, sites of departures and sites of longing. I’ll share my rewritten pledge and my reasons for undertaking such actions to those who are willing to listen. My sociopolitical interventions hope to invite curious passerby to meaningful conversations on how we can re-imagine the pledge of allegiance to create a sense of home for all. Perhaps some will contribute their reconsidered pledges. I will collect them as I continue my journey with the intent of reciting all of them on July 4th 2020 at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in Washington DC.
The following details of my forthcoming public interventions from 2019 to 2020. Dates and sites from 2021 to 2023 will be posted by the end of 2020. The dates are subject to change. Check for latest updates via Instagram @thechinaoutpost and Twitter @thechinaoutpost.
Oct 2019
+ 18-20 Oct 2019: Time (TBD) . University of New Mexico Campus – Imagining America Conference > Albuquerque, 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  site of isolation (below a bridge @ end of railroad tracks)
Santa Fe, NM – due to COVID19
+ Sat 16May2020: noon-2p . Taos Plaza site of isolation (below a bridge @ end of railroad tracks)
Santa Fe, NM – due to COVID19
+ Sat 23May2020: noon-3p . Angel Island Immigration Station > San Francisco, California site of isolation
(below a bridge @ end of railroad tracks) Santa Fe, NM – due to COVID19
+ Sat 30May2020: Noon-2p . Taos Plaza site of isolation (below a bridge @ end of railroad tracks)
Santa Fe, NM – due to COVID19
Jun 2020
+ Sat 13Jun2020: 10a-1p . Santa Fe Railyard > Santa Fe, New Mexico
+ Sat 20Jun2020: 10a-1p . Santa Fe Railyard > Santa Fe, New Mexico
Jul 2020
+ Sat 04Jul2020: noon-3p . Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool > Washington DC
A publication will chronicle my forthcoming public stitchings. 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.

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

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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.
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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

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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.