In Search of A/The Point of Life


12.12.2009 – 09.09.2012, KAIDIE NONDON


3 days before my expiry on 09.09.2012. I make a d-Tour to dOCUMENTA 13 to transfer my final, world-changing messages. I run into problems right away: 1) My session follows one that was over-long – and still over-run (!!3 hours 20 minutes!!) 2) The running time assigned for lunch is hence cut down. So, only 12 people turn up at my 2pm run. The other 20 have walked-out – some of whom are no doubt the oh-so-precious-well-heeled-high-falutin-arm-chair-critics-cynics who must not to be caught dead in such uncouth/mindless/embarrassing/juvenile act as running. I’m running out of time – but not breath. I get on with it.

‘Hello world! Come join me in my “running discourse”! Let’s warm up. Stretch your muscles and your imagination. Let’s divide ourselves into 3 groups. Run for 3-minutes while discussing on one of these topics: DISCOURSE A: Walking versus running (biological and psychological similarities and differences). DISCOURSE B: The correlation between movement and thinking (thinking when moving versus sitting still? Lying in bed? Running? Cycling? Which is most conducive?). DISCOURSE C: The nature of discourse itself (one-way? dynamic? Versus other modes of communication such as a giving a paper at a conference?) Pay attention to how your body respond to or transform your thoughts!’ After the run, participants gather together to their findings. ‘Fun!’ ‘Feel ache on muscles I didn’t know I had!’ ‘Nice breeze on my face when running!’ ‘Tipsy after a night out, I tend to sprint home.’ ‘Too short! Want to run more! Want to discuss more!’ ‘Too distracted by the beautiful scenery of the beautiful park of Park Schonfeld to think properly!’ ‘I have to move to think, can’t think when still!’ ‘Nice day to run about in the field!’

I share my own findings too. These findings have been gathered from my past 996 days of running. ‘We’ve run for 3 minutes – but we human beings have run for 2 million years. Our “gluteus maximus”– or bum – are very maximus – to balance us while we run. When you run while you are high, you are following in the footsteps of the Raramuri people of Mexico who brew their own beer and run for hundreds of miles. And they’ve done that for hundreds of years. Without beer, running can make you high too. For scientists, this “high” is the production of neurotransmitters that make us happy, so linking our body and mind. For runners, this ‘high’ can be conducive to creativity – so linking running with thinking. For example mathematician Alan Turing conceptualised the computer while running.’ ‘On the other hand, or feet, Daoist sage Lao Zi linked the feet with the head, movement with life and thinking. You can see the latter in the Chinese word “dao”, which refers to both course and discourse. I pinpoint this thinking to poetic thinking: non-linear, creative, associative. I also pinpoint this movement to running, because the 16th century Latin etymology of “discourse” (“discursus”) refers to running from place to place, and runners were employed as messengers or ambassadors around the same time (15th-18th century).’ ‘So, I propose that as the running-ambassador transferred messages, neither ambassador nor recipient were passive, but were active agents themselves who, along the way, customise and transform the messages. In so doing, the messages are more than messages, but discourses. Such are to-and-fro exchanges that are alive, active and dynamic. New discourses and new knowledge are created. The process is creative and poetic, and can be an artwork. The running itself can be an artwork.’ And finally: ‘Thank you for allowing me to share my message of running. My name is Kaidie, and I have been your running-ambassador. Or trans-running-ambassador. Or, to be extra arsey, trans-running-amb-ASS-ador. I hope that you can personalise my messages, play with them, transform them, and further pass them on, keep the discourse alive, and open up 10,000 more discourses. Good bye.’ With that, I run off, into the sunset, and live happily ever after (for 3 more days). Life, as they say, goes on.

For an early video (circa January 2012) that provides a run-down of the correlation between running and discourse: click, run the video, hear, watch. Some of these photographs have been taken by Dr. Hayley Newman With special thanks to: Dr. Sharon Morris, and Trespasser (for being a trail-run-ner of this performance), and the participants of the session.

You are invited to Yonder, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, PV September 7, Exhibition September 8- October 21. From down under, will Kaidie die a series of deaths (jetlags included), until she finally goes at 9 September 23:59 hours Nondon time? To Be Continued…

(One of) Kaidie's last acts, which opens 2 days before she moves on on the 9 September... Special thanks to curator Jasmin Stephens for helping to orchestrate Kaidie's death in this leg.

An extract from the PICA website (click to run there)

dOCUMENTA 13, September 6, Park Schönfeld, Kassel: Come run with Kaidie in a running-discourse!

What: dOCUMENTA 13

When: September 6, 14:00-14:45hrs

Where: Park Schönfeld, Frankfurter Strasse 167, 34121 Kassel, Germany

About Kaidie’s running-discourse:

The Chinese word for discourse, ‘dao’ (‘tao’), consists of the radicals of a head and feet, linking thinking and movement. It can be argued that the specific locomotion is running. This speculation comes from the fact that the Latin root word of discourse, ‘discursus’, refers to running to-and-fro. These two strands of thought are brought to life in this work, in which visitors can join ‘Kaidie’ in a light run while running light-hearted and light-footed discourses about the themes of dOCUMENTA 13 and EARN. Kaidie can be understood as a facilitator, leading the run as well as discourse alike. However, what happens along the way – digressions, deviations, walk-outs included – is up to her co-runners.

With this work, we are not only following in the footsteps of the Chinese sages who were peripatetic and equated nimbleness with life, stillness with death. We are also evoking the spirits of mathematician Alan Turing and novelist Haruki Murakami, for whom running played an important part of their creativity. Moreover, this work can be understood as a playful affront to traditional or dominant approaches of knowledge production. Additionally, Kai’s PhD research (in both her written thesis and studio practice) focuses on running, in both the literal and figurative senses of the word, and as both subject matter and methodology. Hence, this work can be seen as a metaphor for the tension between art and research, which seems to be one of the oft-debated points about the value of the ‘Fine Art PhD degree’.

Possible topics of the discourses during the run include:

  • the possibilities of artistic research
  • the tension between artistic creation and its place in the institution;
  • the possibilities of discourse, including the ‘non-discursive, the not-knowing, the intuitive’;
  • if knowledge production is considered as ‘productive’ in a capitalistic economy
  • non-logocentric approaches to discourse

COME JOIN KAIDIE FOR THE COURSE-DISCOURSE – held 3 days just before her expiry on 9 September, this may well be Kaidie’s last!!

A part of: EARN workshops at dOCUMENTA 13: A platform for current doctoral artistic research

About the workshops: This unique two day programme of workshops brings together 26 practitioners engaged in formal graduate research studies through an ongoing art practice. The programme includes a variety of workshop formats from discussion groups to practical workshopping and from presentations of work in progress to exploratory mappings of emergent fields of enquiry. The presenters include both internationally established artists/curators and artists/curators emerging into a space of international visibility for the first time. The overall goal of this two day platform of workshops is to provide an introductory overview of artistic research models as manifested across a variety of graduate programmes within the European Artistic Research Network. It is also intended that this two day programme may act as a lead-in to the major conference organised as part of dOUMENTA(13) on Saturday 8th And Sunday 9th of September. It is anticipated that a survey of divergent models and practices across the EARN network will help to inform subsequent debate by mobilising specific concrete exemplars of doctoral work in contemporary art to supplement and perhaps counteract more abstract and generic notions of “the academic” and “the institutionalised” etc. (Dr Mick Wilson)

* Book here to attend the event at dOCUMENTA

* For more details about other workshops and context: click and click again

* For more details about EARN European Artistic Research Network

* For more details about Slade: click yet again

* Getting there from Nondon: 1) Take a budget plane from a cheap airport (but before that, buy a cheap bus ticket to get out of Nondon to said cheap airport located in what is allegedly still ‘Nondon’) 2) Fly 3) Arrive at Frankfurt, Dortmund or Hannover airports, all of which are NOWHERE near Kassel but, before the Kassel Airport is open (NOT this year, during the once every 5 years grand Documenta, but NEXT year) this is the path of least lousiest resistance 4) Take an exorbitantly-priced ICE train, ssssspeedy at 3 hours or so, to Kassel’s Wilhelmshölhe (after negotiating the challenging website, and after taking some shuttle bus service or another to another train station ‘near’ airport) 5) Use tram line 3, 4 or 6 to get to ‘Rathaus’ 6) Change to Tram 5 to get to the said Park, not respelt here since its hard  to umlaut the ‘o’s. 7) Participate in Kaidie’s life-changing performance and evaluate if any part of this has been worth it.

Alternatively, simply RUN. See why/how the usefulness of running now??????

KAIDIE’S FINAL 20 DAYS: Which is the path of most resistance?

Kaidie runs the try-athlon at the You Can Run But You Can't Hide Park. Images of Kaidie by Trespasser.


KAIDIE’S FINAL 30 DAYS: Exploring (extra-)terrestrial trails.

I did not, however, ask the Legendary Old Kings X Gentleman In White (bottom left, standing, beneath the rail sign). He could have known.

KAIDIE’S FINAL 33 DAYS: Want to OFFER help? Come to Kings X.

Any kind person keen to offer help on how/where to find the/a Meaning of Life, come to Kings X Station today. Kaidie, adorned in bright pink and purple as Nondon Ambassador, will be waiting for YOU. Last week, these Nondon visitors tried, but Kaidie's still left clueless.

KAIDIE’S FINAL 38 DAYS: Lost? So is Kaidie. Wayfinding with / by the Nondon Ambassador

KAIDIE’S FINAL 40 DAYS: As Kaidie’s Forerunner CHRIS MARKER moves on, she too begins to pack her bag.

Beckoning cats. Film still from Chris Marker's Sans Soleil (1982).

Before Kaidie as Kaidie, her encounter with Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil in 1994 at the Everyman Cinema changed her world, for ever. Marker’s breathtaking cine-essay made her the restless being that she has been, and made her the trans-runner that she is today. As Kaidie prepares for her own death, Chris Marker’s death at the age of 91 has filled her with a mixture of ecstasy and sadness: will she run into him in her next lap? Chris Marker (1921-2012), rest in peace.

Obituary (2012)

* About Marker’s legacy on Kaidie (2011)

About Sans Soleil and Marker (1997)

KAIDIE’S FINAL 41 DAYS: The Sea Of Pinks of the Nondon Ambassadors

KAIDIE’S FINAL 42 DAYS: A ROUSING START to the Greatest Show On Earth (and the Trans-runner’s run-up beginning to her Big End)

The peasants are revolting, the world is revolving (and salutes to Sir Tim Berners-Lee).

THE COUNTDOWN BEGINS (Day 956, or the final 44 days of Kaidie’s run for her life)

(One of, or five of) Danny Boyle’s Secrets at the 2012 Nondon Opening Ceremony, which was Spectacular for Kaidie the Spectator and Near-Spectre. With these rings of fire, the 2012 Nondon Olympics opens, and Kaidie runs towards her dead-line.


Garmin GPS watch loaned to Kaidie by Urbantick; photo of Kaidie snapped by Trespasser.


Comings & goings, goings, gone: Save the surprise, says Danny Boyle. So, a pixellated prelude to Nondon 2012. What’s going to happen? (Image of the Nondon Ambassador by a [Pixellated] Trespasser)

A Photo of the Photo-finish in fool glory, in action, in situ

Thank you for attending the Private View of The Games – Inspiring Images at Connaught Brown on the 18th July 2012, at W1H 4SD in Nondon. Pictured here is the Kaidie’s 2012 Nondon Olympics Photo Finish in its fool glory, in action, in situ. To the left of the work is that by runner-artist Jun Nguyen Hatsushiba, and to the right is that by Jamaica’s Albert Chong. Kaidie is shot here, nearly photo-finished, with the director of the gallery, Mr. Anthony Brown. Edition one is sold, with Kaidie’s broken toe nail and all, and to be displayed in the living room of the buyer soon. 4 more to go / come your way. Hurry, bye one, get one (not free)!


Do come to the ‘Private View’ (in public view, so nothing to be shy about!) of Lens On Twelve, a photographic show in response to the 2012 Nondon Olympics, at the Connaught Brown Gallery at W1S 4HD in Nondon on 18 July 2012 Wednesday 18-20 hours. Kaidie proudly leads the ‘Singapore contingent’ for this International platform, although that is as big a deal as being world famous in New Zealand, of course. Kaidie shares a new digital collage, that captures her on the cusp of reaching the finishing line, of which is not depicted as it has been croppppppped of in this picture shown above, and also in the one shown in the exhibition. Pity, that. So how indeed will Kaidie end, end, in the end, at the end of the day? Only time will tell. Hush. Slushhhhhhh. And flush. Until the next cycle.

I hope to run into you. See you later (or sooner) (said than done) (deal). But don’t just turn up. Please RSVP I can say my ‘Good Buys’ there and then.