Slade School of Fine Art



Kaidie's 1000-Day Trans-Run 12.12.2009 - 09.09.2012

Kai Syng Tan

Studio practice title: Kaidie's 1000-Day Trans-Run 12.12.2009 - 09.09.2012
Written thesis title
: The Physical and Poetic Processes of Running: A Practice-Related Fine Art Thesis on a Playful Way To Transform Your World Today

Kai Syng Tan's practice-related Fine Art thesis performs a discourse of ‘trans-running’ – running physically and poetically, and running as both subject and approach – as a playful methodology to transform our world today.

Kai investigates this in two ways. In her written thesis, she proposes that trans-running can enable us to claim ownership of the city and resist political control in the ‘real world’, as well as dodge online surveillance and assume multiple viewpoints in the ‘digital world’. Running physically can cause the ‘runner’s high’, which she argues can create a euphoric and poetic mode of thinking that we can apply to explore discourses. Since ‘discourse’ means ‘running from place to place’ in Latin, and as runners were historically ambassadors, she additionally proposes the ‘trans-runner’ as the new ‘running-ambassador’, capable of activating new discourses and creating new knowledge. Kai's studio practice, entitled 'Kaidie's 1000-Day Trans-Run 12.12.2009 - 09.09.2012' consists of a large body of artworks online and offline. It features ‘Kaidie’, a ‘trans-runner’ who explores trans-running as a mode of art. A running-ambassador herself, Kai runs back-and-forth between discourses to bring you message of trans-running. Apart from art and sport, she draws on the Chinese Daoist wanderers’ poetic, techno-sceptic and anarchic ways to generate a playful, performative practice of writing and art-making. The entire thesis is an artwork that performs the discourses of the trans-runner. It mobilises ‘run’-related idioms, wordplay, alliteration, etymology and correlations like the metaphor. Kai invites you to perform trans-running yourselves, to better grasp it.

Trans-running aims to be trans-cultural, trans-disciplinary and transgressive. It introduces ‘running’ as a counter to the well-studied tradition of walking, and as a mode of correlating distinct discourses. Utilising non-Western and non-canonical discourses, Kai's research contributes to debates about cultural difference. Integrating theory and practice, it seeks to contribute to the discourses of Fine Art research.

Kaidie was played by Kai, who picked up long-distance running for a first-hand (and first-feet) experience of running. She has completed 9 races, including the 2011 London Marathon. Since its launch in December 2009, her website has welcomed more than one million unique visitors. When not running, Kai runs about and lives life on the run, as an artist-curator-educator (The Most Promising Young Artist Award 1993;  San Francisco International Film Festival Merit Award for experimental video 1999; Transmediale 2000; Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival 2001; Biennale of Sydney 2006; Young Artist Award 2007; Guangzhou Triennale 2008; dOCUMENTA 13 2012). Grab her at

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