Yili’s ‘Rowing in the Desert’ by Lara


Yili’s second installation was a presentation of a performance on an old television set stood in the sand displaying the constant act of her rowing in the desert. This project was an exercise in critical futility and time. The preparation and execution was meticulously considered in constructing a life size white origami boat for her trip to Morocco. The boat was pre-prepared and assembled in the desert. The aim was a simple performance of the futile action of rowing in the sand, where there is no end to the task or movement of the boat. This installation is deeply related to Yili’s previous work of catching wind, where the activity is eternally unachievable. There is no reasonable end to the task but it demonstrates a concept of time as perpetual. This is very closely related to the myth of Sisyphus, where he is never able to complete the task of moving the stone, even in an eternity, yet he continues to complete the task over again each day.

Yili’s work is rooted in the futility of humanity’s search for meaning. It’s an endless journey with no end and no beginning.  The experience of time is subjective and the human being is eternally conflicted with the desire to create order out of chaos. Yili is rowing a boat in the sand which answers a question no one can really ask.

This is the perpetual paradox,  Yili will never move her boat in the desert and there will never be water to move her but she is still performing. This is the manifestation of the meaninglessness of life and time through absurdity. Yili is facing the frustration of this crisis of meaninglessness with meaninglessness.