This project began as a response to COVID-19 where Yuguang Zhang and I started questioning what it means for live performances to be online; what do we gain or lose?
GAIN: mass-scale connection, PROS: everyone is equal (no stage, no boundary) , lots of possibility for digital interaction (camera, mic, keyboard, mouse) How do we leverage on these?
LOSS: intimacy, presence, sense of space, spontaneity CONS: delay, frame drops, resolution loss (everything is more coarse) How to we compensate for these?
CUT (1/3) showcased at Choreographic Interventions, ITP Spring Show 2020 and Movement Research
An interactive sketch for live performance where two camera feeds are CUT and switch-able by each participant. Sketch: https://cut-cut-cut.glitch.me/.
MASS (2/3) showcased at BOND Festival and CultureHub Downtown Variety
A scaled up version of CUT. Two live audience, who have never seen the performance before, are asked to join Yuguang and I. The brief is simple, “We ask you to pay very close attention to us and to each other, and try to connect with us. No words, no sounds, only through movement”
DISPLACED (3/3) showcased at the Center at West Park
As the lock-down eases up, we had the opportunity to integrate the physical environment – allowing us to experiment with the dynamic between physical space and digital space (output layout).
In a single split-moment, we experience the world in multiple layers, in different scales – not as an instant snapshot with a foreground and a background, but more as a long exposure photograph with ambiguous artefacts.
As I step out of my apartment, I experience my thoughts, one stride forward, my pace as I cross the street, the sudden sprint when the red light turns green, the avoidance of a stranger’s eye contact, or the gaze, the leafs that fall, noticing the sun rising later each day, noticing the moon becoming fuller, and vanishing, noticing the seasons change, noticing the shape of my face changing, my hairline, my relationships.
This is time and space. Fine-grained and sparse.
Layer by Layer is an experimental research in the form of choreography, composition and online installation to attempt to peel apart our physical experiences layer by layer.
Locating yourself – How you locate yourself reflects your relation to everything else. Your location is a moving point in space, not a spectrum, a multi-dimensional space that only you define and know.
locate yourself in space – where are you situated, which part of the chair, which part of the room, which part of the city, which planet
locate yourself in time – where are you in time, can you move forward, which way is forward, can time stretch, can time contract, can you resist
locate yourself in respect to others – how far are you in the physical space, how far are you in the mental space, what is the distant determined by
your location is a moving point in space, not a spectrum, a multi-dimensional space that only you define and know
A minute is also a year – What happens in a minute also happens in a year, on a smaller scale. Now is not only the current moment but is part of your past and part of your future depending on where you’re positioned in time.
Moments versus time –Measured time is an abstraction of a natural cycle, can you sense time without a clock or a calendar?
What can we do to peel apart our physical experiences layer by layer?
This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned towards the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing in from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such a violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.
—Walter Benjamin on Paul Klee’s Angelus Novus from Theses on the Philosophy of History, 1940
“What new cultures are emerging through the use of these media? What does it mean to be “socially” distant? And in a socially distant society, where does the burden of social responsibility fall and fail? How will media technology, and/or the related arts, change as a result of this halt?”
“Beneath our eyes there is being solved the most complex problem of culture: utilitarian form becomes pure creative form.”
A glitch is a mess that is a moment, a possibility to glance at software’s inner structure, whether it is a mechanism of data compression or HTML code.
A glitch is stunning. It appears as a temporary replacement of some boring conventional surface; as a crazy and dangerous momentum (Will the computer come back to “normal”? Will data be lost?) that breaks the expected flow.