I snuggle into the tomb bed from my wedding chamber my hair is the quilt the spirit-guiding streamer, embroidery on textiles, infrared camera, laptop, dimensions variable. Installation View at Group Exhibition “How Will You Ascertain Time?” curated by Hajra Haider Karrar & Sagal Farah, SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin, 30 April–27 May, 2022  |Documentation by Savvy Contemporary

“I snuggle into the wedding chamber from my tomb bed my shin is the lintel

I snuggle into the tomb bed from my wedding chamber my hair is the quilt the spirit-guiding streamer”

The couplet is embroidered on the hanging “spirit-guiding streamer” reminiscent of a typical Chinese funeral decor, which contrasts the red veil that typically covers the head of a Chinese bride. Refering to the ghost marriage tradition that is still practiced in rural China, the work aims to initiate a conjuring across disjointed realms.

Entombment, is a particular necrotechnic that contributes to the establishment of the necroeconomic order between the realm of yang, i.e. the realm of the living, and the realm of yin, i.e. the realm of the (un)dead, by transposing the physical actants of corpses into a realm of virtuality—which, paradoxically, is constructed with materials that nevertheless fall into the category of yang. While the physical corpses are rendered virtual, effective as assets of the realm of yang kept in pawn in the realm of yin, their hauntology is testified as their “carnal forms” vanish in themselves.

The performance installation delineates an underground space of a tomb, in which the performer meets the corpse-bride through a wedding make-up ritual that cannot be captured by the medium of the infra-red camera.

I snuggle into the tomb bed from my wedding chamber my hair is the quilt the spirit-guiding streamer
is informed by the concept of “necrotechnics” formulated in my research 🖇️ “The Corpse Not In Its Place”.

I snuggle into the tomb bed from my wedding chamber my hair is the quilt the spirit-guiding streamer, Opening Performance at “How Will You Ascertain Time?”, 30 April, 2022 | spoken words
and sound, 30’ /Performance text read by Hajra Haider Karrar and Hubert Gromny /Documentation by Hui Lin and Savvy Contemporary

_script for the performance

Hubert: A downward-sloping path extends into a three metres long tunnel that leads to the chamber. An underground home built with timber, stone and thick damp, furnished with misshapen vessels, incense burners, and miniature figurines. The archaeology of burials is an irreverent discipline of trespassing, more so than grave robbing. “After the tomb is sealed, it will never be opened again” reads a prayer or a spell found at the end of a long inscription inside of a tomb sealed in 151 CE, China. “To be sealed, one and for all”, was supposed to be the one architectural principle of tombs. Asymbolic trick in the attempt to first expose a cavity and then fill it negatively.

Hajra: “She cannot comprehend verticality. A soft ladder sags into the rocks while stretch- ing into the cosmic. Morphologies of afterlife cling on to the ladder, spaced micrometres apart. She, on the other hand, lies horizontally.”

Hubert: At the moment of entombment, all material matters and the space they hold are transposed from the realm of yang, i.e., the realm of the living, to the realm of yin, i.e., the realm of the undead. The cunning necrotechnic forecloses the problem of death. At the moment of entombment, death vanishes; the corpse has become assets of the realm of yang kept in pawn in the realm of yin.

Hajra: “She hears vaguely a pre-recorded wailing from above the ground. Whether a funeral should be rehearsed or improvised still puzzles her. Her wedding colludes with a funeral that’s not hers. It is no coincidence that the captive yang refers to male and the receptive yin refers to female. She is manufactured into a corpse bride to fulfil the sweet promise: To fertilise his reincarnation.”

Hubert: The realm of yin is constructed as a necrotic replica of the realm of yang. A dichot- omy swirled by the ambivalence towards ghostly matters. Made exclusively for the undead, burial goods are referred to as spirit-article. They should retain the form of the corresponding object in the realm of yang, but designed to falsify its practical- ity: “those of earthenware should not be able to contain water; the zithers should be strung, but not evenly; the bells and chime stones should be there but have no stands”. As the economies of the realm of yang infiltrate into the realm of yin, the latter is filled with deviant vitalities that feeds on the inflations of the mortal order.

Hajra: “Until recently, she never knew that her self-contained spirit was a compound of multiple sub-spirits. One day when she had a high fever and was very sick, she felt six or seven people lying in her bed. She did not want to moan, but they did; she wanted to lie still, but they shook her awake. Later, when the fever subsided, some of them disappeared; and when she fully recovered, they were all gone.”