In this short film we hear the story of how Taiwanese performance artist Tehching Hsieh’s life as an illegal immigrant informed his piece One Year Performance 1980-1981.
Hsieh moved from Taiwan to the United States as a stowaway in 1974, living as an illegal immigrant until he was granted amnesty in 1988.
For One Year Performance 1980-1981, Hsieh rigorously punched a time clock every hour for 366 days from 11 April 1980 to 11 April 1981. The resulting installation consists of letters, statements, uniforms, photographs, punch clock and a time card.
Between 1978 and 1986 Hsieh made five year-long performances, followed by a thirteen-year performance of making art but not publicly showing it.