How do we take stock of a life--by what means and by what measure? This is the question that preoccupies Alice, a Taiwanese immigrant in her late thirties. In the off-hours from her day job, she struggles to create a project about the enigmatic downtown performance artist Tehching Hsieh and his monumental yearlong 1980s performance pieces. As she roots deeper into Hsieh's radical use of time and his mysterious disappearance from the art world, her project starts metabolizing events from her own life. She wanders from subway rides to street protests, loses touch with a friend, and becomes a caretaker for her stepfather, a Vietnam vet whose dream of making traditional Chinese furniture dissolved in alcoholism and dementia. Moving between present-day and 1980s New York City, with detours to Silicon Valley and the Venice Biennale, Activities of Daily Living is a startlingly precise, vivid, and tender examination of the passage of time.
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