Wafaa Yasin literally turned her body into a boat and set sail across the San Francisco Bay. Yasin expected to fail in sailing anywhere, but she also hoped not to drown. Born in Palestine, the San Francisco-based performance and multimedia artist often puts herself at risk to ask questions about the histories and people who negotiate the boundaries of global politics.
Using her own body, Yasin’s performances evoke visceral and painfulto- watch reactions. One gutturally feels her struggle in Aesh (Livelihood) (2008), where Yasin pushed a piece of bread along a busy street with her nose for 45 minutes until she reached the ocean. She crawled with her hands behind her back, in partial reference to an account by an Iraqi prisoner who used this action to transfer bread thrown on the floor to his mouth while he was bound. In other projects, she has had wet concrete poured through her hair or had to perilously duck whipping fishing lines being cast at her while wading through the casting ponds in Golden Gate Park. Yasin’s safety is often uncertain.