Witness of Land, 2020-ongoing

AR performance, mobile application, a participatory project.

Trees are living time capsules of land. They are witnesses of history. They witness climate changes, migration, colonization, industrialization, and urbanization. They live long enough to witness the long history of displacement and discrimination, as well as the forgotten massacre and killing that took place under their shades. Outlive human lifespan, they are the evidence of the Anthropocene. They are the nonhuman others among the others. 

Witness of Land is a performance project by Hings Lim that invites participants to maneuver the augmented reality (AR) application to bring forth the presence of witness trees. Upon the arboreal survivor and landmark in a neighborhood, the absence of the past is summoned, and the incantations are performed to conjure the memories of land while recalling the human history that still haunts.

Witness of Land (Historic Palm Tree at Exposition Park), 2021

AR performance, mobile application, Full HD screen recording, duration 6 minutes 30 seconds.

Performed by Hings Lim with the Historic Palm Tree at Exposition Park, Los Angeles, California on January 3, 2021. GPS coordinates: 34.01408625258346, -118.28327840069015


Come A Little Closer, 18th Street Arts Center, Santa Monica, California, United States

Performance event
14 January 2021, 5pm-6.30pm PST

The pandemic has forced many into isolation. With the increased proximity to the camera and the norm of webcams, we are becoming witnesses to the world. 

In an evening of performance artworks, Come a Little Closer, artists explore the concept of online witnessing, questioning what it means to be present with the realities of others through the screen. Rejecting the act of viewing performance as voyeurism, the artists are choosing to alter acts of looking into acts of witnessing, implying a support of each other’s practices, and realities. Witnessing engages our reflections and caring as participating artists take a look at gender, religion, colonialism and memory as seen through the lens of each other’s works.

This cohort of performance artists employ an amalgamation of disciplines and mediums in their practices including escapology, embodiment, music and virtual reality, coming from their intensive exploration with each other on how audiences view art in the digital age. Formed in Suzanne Lacy’s class at the University of Southern California’s Roski School of Art and Design, the group includes Vrinda Aggarwal, Gabrielle Shira Broome, Sean Doran, Jiyoon Kim, Hings Lim, Jose Guadalupe Sanchez, Diane Williams, and Rachel Zaretsky; as well as special invited guests, Nao Bustamante and Marcus Kuiland-Nazario.

Embodied Forest, ecoartspace, New Mexico, United States

Online exhibition & publication
Fall 2021


To understand our place within nature as part of the whole is an eminently social and existential matter. The environmental crisis and the frequency of natural disasters we have experienced last decades, including the pandemic tragedy, which in essence was caused by an ecological imbalance, indicates the urgency for a different logic of conceiving, interacting and projecting the natural world. The artistic community and its ability to expand the social mind have an essential role in creating a new value system concerning the environment, which breaks through modern anthropocentrism and the antagonism between nature and culture.

Coexisting, interacting and exchanging energy with other organisms and natural phenomena is the basis for developing the artistic works presented in Embodied Forest. From the sensitive to the rational, these works contain an effervescence of processes, poetic materials and techniques that reframe Forest in a set of plural languages. These cultural processes unfold nature by using knowledge and poetic freedom to help understand ecology in the Anthropocene and generate new sensibilities to an ethical relation to nature.

Curated by Lilian Fraiji


Jared Farmer, “Witness to a Hanging: California’s Haunted Trees,” Boom: A Journal of California, A Journal of California, 3, no. I (Spring 2013): 70–79, https://doi.org/10.1525/boom.2013.3.1.70.

Ken Gonzales-Day, Lynching in the West, 1850-1935 (Durham: Duke University Press, 2006).

Nathan Masters, “CityDig: L.A.’s Oldest Palm Tree Los Angeles Magazine,” Los Angeles Magazine (blog), April 17, 2013, https://www.lamag.com/citythinkblog/citydig-las-oldest-palm-tree/.

Nathan Masters, “The Oak Trees of Southern California: A Brief History,” KCET, February 7, 2013, https://www.kcet.org/shows/lost-la/the-oak-trees-of-southern-california-a-brief-history.