A Special Halloween Costume Designed by Random Strangers

On Oct 30, 2017, a day before Halloween, I hallowed the tradition of self-disguising, seizing the opportunity to be anyone but my every-day self. While some scratch their head off for weeks to come up with the best costume of the year, purchasing Cops’ uniforms or superheroes’ suits, some simply feel too shiftless or unnecessary to try to be someone else (that’s good in real life I suppose!); driven by the spirit of adventure and curiosity, I left my physical body in the hands of hundreds of random passerby in downtown Vancouver,British Columbia, to cast personas into my brand-new identity out of scraped materials.
Outside of the Art Gallery, I gingerly scattered mostly recyclable materials: metal cans, plastic bags, and cardboards, discarded clothes…on top of some fake blood, wigs, balloons, and face paint…I blindfolded myself beside a sign saying “I ran out of costume idea this year, feel free to dress me up! Be creative and have fun!” For 2 hours- an hour before sunset and an hour after sunset, the deprivation of sight contributed in reinforcing my faith in people. In opening up myself to strangers with whom I could only acquaint either through their tones and voices or the fusing touch of their hands, I was weaned from a biased judgment. Paradoxically, I felt more powerful, focused, and fearless than ever. I enjoyed the laughter of children and teenagers from the bottom of my heart, I felt the vibration of the oncoming footsteps via the bottom of my own feet, I listened raptly to the men ’s perspectives on life with my ears pricked up, I saw a smile on the ladies’ faces without using my eyes. The fleeting two hours of being dolled up felt just like thirty minutes. In entertaining the public, I was immensely entertained.
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They say “two heads are better than one”; true enough, each stranger creatively maximized the limited resources added so much color and soul into this re-created character. The aesthetics of this Halloween costume was indeed the compilation of brilliant ideas coming from strangers from every walk of life. in principal, the modern society is also a big picture painted by each and every individuals; in my world as a skater, the street sweeper is a hero who prevents the slippery damped leaves fallen en masse on the sidewalk to endanger my life; the doctor is a savior who sew up massive open wounds on my bleeding head. Some people brownnose the educated authorities while taking no notice of the seemingly run-of-the-mill, oblivious to the fact that we all engage in a different position only to ensure the functionality of the world. We’ve collaborated in meticulous way that we don’t even realize the person sitting next to us on the bus is our co-worker and our dear family. My funky monkey outlook was collectively designed by the A who wrote “You are amazing” on my arm, B who strung cans around lower legs, C who tied balloons on my ankes, and D who wrap me up with floral cloth…
They all share a commonality of being a…stranger.
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As soon as I removed the blindfold, I found a labradorite necklace dangling over my neck. I don’t know who passed this precious gift to me, but in case you’re reading this, I would like to say thank you. It means a lot to me! Little do you know, I have been collecting gem stones in the past few months. I am not a hobbyist nor an expert; the collection simply happened by default. A beautiful story of serendipity is embedded in every single one of my collections that is given by the main character. And this latest stone will always remind me of my persistence in making this performance art happen despite all the voices against it, or being stood up on the very last minute.
“i’m concerned with your safety,” most people replied unanimously to my idea. The videographer who had agreed to come bailed the last minute because he could not afford the possibility of failure, “perhaps we should plan for another week before doing so. Maybe you shouldn’t blindfold yourself. What if the cops come? what if people try to hurt you? what if no one cares? what if…” With all these what-ifs, I was left on my own standing my ground. I had to do nevertheless. Right when I was about to fly solo, a good friend of mine dropped his current duty to come support me without hesitation. I believe some self-questioning “what if-s” are crucial and life-saving, yet there are some that are sheer piling garbage that obstruct the path of success. They waste our time worrying about the unfathomable, and worst of all, misguide us to miss the boat! But that’s the trick of life. The greatest art is often captured in an unplanned spontaneity, and is expressed through the open embrace of the “come what may”.
We shall be aware without being cynical, be audacious without being reckless, go with the flow without losing the anchor…
Yanise xx
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