Proposal by: Qiaochu Guo

Twining The Underneath

Project proposal: Reading the body through Moxibustion

This project is Inspired by moxibustion which heats up the body by burning the wormwood above the skin's surface, thereby achieving a means of curing diseases. This traditional therapy means to the artist not only a family practice inherited from her mother, but also the repair of systemic trauma to the body. This project extends the metaphorical meaning of moxibustion, imagining the body's relationship with it through speculative writings and descriptive sculptures, to build a new understanding and perception of the body, and to inspire us to see the body in relation to its received environment.
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Wormwood - credits: unknown.jpg Qiaochu Guo

Project Description

Moxibustion is a family practice for me: my mother gained this knowledge from her friends and then convinced me to practice it at home. This therapy heats up the body by burning the wormwood above the skin's surface, thereby achieving a means of curing diseases. After I moved to the Netherlands, I used moxibustion more spontaneously to treat myself and relieve pain on body and gastrointestinal problem, which caused by from the discomfort I was experiencing with the system as an immigrant, the cultural disconnect, the homesickness, and the most, important, the structural problem. When I warm specific parts of my body with wormwood, its characteristic smell and temperature reconnects me with the environment I once lived in. The wormwood is a spiritual guide for active transmigration, with inclusivity and tolerance, in a gesture of rest, pause and breath to allow the body to recover autonomously.

This physical trauma caused by the incompatibility of the body with a different environment interweaves with the history of moxibustion immigration: during the Dutch colonisation of Indonesia (Batavia), Hermann Buschoff, a Dutch missionary stationed in Batavia got gout on the foot. After trying various methods and no avail, he got recovered by the moxibustion with a local doctor. After that, the moxibustion therapy was introduced to Europe.
Reflecting on the coincidence of personal histories and the migratory history of moxibustion, a metaphor for the intersection of it with the migrant body. I want to write a speculative fiction, starting with my autobiography with the disease I have, mainly about the symbiotic relationship between wormwood and the traumatized body: they are intertwined each other and grow together, while the trauma transforms to the power to produce the elusive restoration through burning. Based on these stories I want to explore a series of sculptures to depict the relationship, that would be with other materials like fabric. They will consist of an installation in a space that invite people to touch, read and reflect a new understanding and perception of the body, and to inspire them to see the body in relation to its received environment.

 

Possible ways to expand the project

I want to continue to collaborate with therapist and botanist, to expand the project to a space for rehabilitation, including moxibustion experience, workshops and performances.

 

Qiaochu Guo

Qiaochu Guo(1995) is an artist currently based in Eindhoven, a humid hesitating limp creature. Their recent works explore the embodied tension of the power dynamics between their identity and the environment.

 

Estimated costs

Material costs: I wish to gather moxa that grow in Netherland (need to get permission), and also think about planting them by myself. I also need fabric and others, I estimate those would be around 1500. Artist fee: I need to work at least 5 month (planting is not accounted in), and each month for 600 euro. So intotal it would be around 4500 euro.

 

This proposal is part of the 'Penny for your Thoughts' project 2022.