Sweeping Away Evil: W.O.W. Shadow Puppet Theater
By Emily Mock
文: Emily Mock

Residency Coordinator Clara Lu makes paper cuts with community members in Columbus Park for a W.O.W. Shadow Puppet Theater free workshop. Image credit: Mei Lum // 標題:在W.O.W.的免費『皮影戲院』項目上,駐地項目協調員Clara Lu在哥倫布公園和社區成員們一起做剪紙Mei Lum攝

Before February 16th this year, I will mend my clothes, cut my hair, flip my mattress, sweep the floors, and prepare myself and my spaces to regenerate and receive the good will of the new year. A large part of celebrating Chinese New Year is performing actions that expel the bad luck and evil spirits of the old year while opening space to the new year’s good luck. We sweep our homes to sweep away evil. We come from legacies of confronting evil to realize power and healing for ourselves and our communities.


Landyn Pan, He, Dominic Wong, Clara Lu, Huiying Chan, and Emily Mock (left to right) practice using blade knives and Chinese scissors during a W.O.W. Shadow Puppet Theater workshop. Image credit: Benjamin Lundberg Torres Sánchez //  標題:Landyn Pan, He, Dominic Wong, Clara Lu, Huiying Chan, and Emily Mock (從左到右)在『皮影戲院』作坊上練習採用手工刀和古式剪刀 Benjamin Lundberg Torres Sánchez攝

W.O.W. Shadow Puppet Theater is a community project in Manhattan Chinatown centered on the question “what do you do to sweep away evil?” From October through January, as the 店面 Storefront Artist-in-Residence, I held workshops in the Wing On Wo studio and Columbus Park, teaching paper cutting and shadow puppetry. Participants made their own puppets and devised short plays based on a memory, practice, tradition, or imaginary about how they sweep away evil. These plays were filmed and can be viewed in a month-long storefront window installation at Wing on Wo & Co. at 26 Mott Street NY, NY. It opens on Tuesday, February 13th from 7-9pm.

『皮影戲院』是一項服務曼哈頓唐人街的社區項目。它專注的問點是:“你怎樣掃除邪惡?” 當作一位『店面駐地項目藝術家』,我從10月到1月的期間在永安和的工作室和哥倫布公園舉辦了一系列的剪紙和皮影戲作坊。參加人員根據記憶,實踐,習俗,或幻想裡的畫面,創造了關於掃除邪惡的短劇。有興趣的讀者歡迎在永安和的店面安裝裡觀看這些短劇的影片。店面安裝的開幕設於2月13日,晚上7點至9點。

Four year-old makes a paper cut, assisted by her father and Clara Lu.  Image credit: Benjamin Lundberg Torres Sánchez // 標題:四歲的 在父親和Clara Lu的指導下做剪紙 Benjamin Lundberg Torres Sánchez攝

Paper cutting is a deeply old art that has its roots as an intergenerational and communal activity practiced across classes and regions. As an artist and educator interested in what heritage means creatively, I see my role as facilitating time, space, community, and resources to support Chinese diaspora in accessing ancestral arts of paper cutting and shadow puppetry.


Rocky Chin speaks to the audience of the Sweeping Away Evil Panel on January 25, 2018, featuring panelists Donna Mah, Jes Tom, Melanie Wang, Muriel Miguel, and Fay Bonas and moderated by 店面 Storefront Artist-in-Residence Emily Mock. Image credit: Eric Jenkins-Sahlin // 標題:Rocky Chin在 2018年1月25日的『掃除邪惡小組對談』面對觀眾發言。小組對談嘉賓由於Donna Mah, Jes Tom, Melanie Wang, Muriel Miguel, Fay Bonas,與『店面駐地項目藝術家』主持人Emily Mock。Eric Jenkins-Sahlin攝