The Earth Performance: Reenactment

April 22, 2pm

Governors Island Parade Ground

On Saturday, April 22nd, Canal Projects is pleased to host a reenactment of Seung-taek Lee’s acclaimed Earth Performance (1989-1996). Co-produced with Governors Island Arts, Canal Projects is thrilled to be presenting the first US based iteration of Lee’s iconic Earth Performance, a work which mobilizes art as a sensory shared visual language that urges collective caretaking of our planet. The reenactment will be led by the collaborative duo, Korean-American artists: Ayoung Yu and Nicholas Oh.

To deliver the message that the global community must collectively take care of our planet, Seung-taek Lee created performances like Earth Play (1989), Earth Performance (1990), and Resting Earth (1991). These reflected the artist’s interest in communicating environmental issues with the larger public—issues deliberately pushed aside by the agendas of urbanization and industrialization.

While these performances are relational artworks completed through audience interaction, they are also environmental campaigns that urge people to take action in the preservation of the Earth’s various ecosystems. Seung-taek Lee’s Earth Performance has been activated in outdoor art festivals and staged performances that involved rolling and playing with participants. Torn and scraped, the Earth balloon gradually loses air, shriveling up and falling flat into an unrecognizable heap, at times only in a matter of hours. A portion of the reenactment will invite audiences to activate the balloon through play, and to subsequently witness the effects of this play on the Earth.

The reenactment is part of Earth Day on Governors Island, a free day-long community celebration of all things ecological on Governors Island. Earth Day is presented by the Trust for Governors Island and the Friends of Governors Island. A complete schedule of events and activities can be seen at

We hope you will joins us on this day devoted to climate action and resiliency!

In the event of inclement weather, the performance will take place on Sunday, April 23 at 2pm.

Seung-taek Lee (b. 1932) has gained national and international recognition as a celebrated experimental artist for his development of non-materialistic and non-sculptural concepts which manifest in his practice as a rejection of existing ideas and orders. Many of Lee’s works reflect back on Korean shamanic lore in their attempt to form a practice rooted in folklore and traditional objects. Lee’s works are in numerous collections including, among others, Tate Modern, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul (MMCA), Seoul Museum of Art, Rachofsky Collection, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney.

A young Yu & Nicholas Oh are a collaborative duo based in New York. A young Yu (b. 1990) received her MFA from Columbia University. She has exhibited at venues including the Museum of Art and Design, Christie’s Inc, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, LeRoy Neiman Gallery, Time Square Space, the Jewish Museum, and more. Nicholas Oh (b. 1985) received his MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. He has exhibited at venues including RISD Museum, Smithsonian, Museum of Art and Design, Christie’s Inc., Spring/Break Art Show, and more.

Governors Island Arts, the public arts and cultural program presented by the Trust for Governors Island, creates transformative encounters with art for all New Yorkers, inviting artists and researchers to engage with the issues of our time in the context of the Island’s layered histories, environments, and architecture. Governors Island Arts achieves this mission through temporary and long-term public art commissions, an annual Organizations in Residence program in the Island’s historic houses, and free public programs and events in partnership with a wide range of cross-disciplinary NYC cultural organizations. For more information, visit

Governors Island is accessible by ferry, for schedules and tickets visit