Cang Xin is a Chinese performance artist who is well-known for his ongoing exploration project in which he chooses to experience life and locations in a variety of uncommon means such as bathing with lizards and, in this case, licking the ground we walk on with his tongue. As one of the most sensitive parts of the body, the tongue provides a method of experiencing things on a whole other level. Both touch and taste are sensed through the tiny organ.
The artist began his intriguingly unusual performance piece known as Communication in 1996, intending to represent the interaction of man with his surroundings as a quencher for our natural thirst for knowledge. The piece echoes the curious nature of people as recognized from a young age by babies and toddlers who stick everything in their mouths. It is also reflective of the artist's own spiritual intention of living both cooperatively and peacefully within our world, stemming from the belief that everything has a spirit.
Nearly a decade since the performance project's inception, Xin created a replica of himself, face down and tongue out. The unbelievably life-like sculptural installation depicts the shaman in a pose he has grown all too familiar with on his quest to promoting “harmonious communication with nature.”