I have been looking for a vibrant and diverse city to carry out my future project. In this city, I will use my body as an instrument to measure its buildings, streets, parks, and bridges. Let’s imagine that I useNew York City as my project site; we’ll call it the “Manhattan Project”.
I will define my unit of measurement as the distance that a Nike sneaker travels when I throw it. I call that distance a “Nike unit”. When I measure the circumference ofCentral Park, I will walk along the border of the park and count the number of times that I need to throw my Nike before I finish my measurement of the park. If the final count is 350, the circumference ofCentral Park will be 350 Nikes.
I will use my body to measure the length ofBrooklyn Bridge: the length of my fully stretched body will be one unit and with that unit, I can figure out the length of theBrooklyn Bridge.
I will also reflect my physical limitation on my measurement. For example, I will clear my bladder, drink a liter of water, and walk until I need to clear my bladder again. A unit can be defined as the distance I can walk between the drinking and the urinating.
I am interested in the concepts of “borders” and “center”. If the border ofManhattan is never the same because of the webbing of the river, the size ofManhattan is always a mystery. I can document this phenomenon to illustrate the uncertainty of the territory.
Under my operation, the whole city will turn into a performance space where the audience may interpret my measuring behavior with social and artistic viewpoints. In the end, I will use my measurements to create new maps and models of the city. Contrary to the standardization and objectivity of the measurement we use, this project strategically challenges the concept of measurement with individualization and randomness. The vagueness of “border” and “center” questions the existence of subjects. In this project, time and distance become imaginary, metaphoric, and poetic.