Flying Circus Project 2007 : Travelogue
Brian Gothong Tan, Singapore
Caden Manson, New York City
David Subal, Vienna
Francis Ng, Singapore
Julie Atlas Muz, New York City
Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba, Ho Chi Minh City
Kaffe Matthews, London
Katarina Eismann, Stockholm
Kim Ngoc, Hanoi
Koosil-Ja, New York City
Luigi de Angelis, Ravenna, Italy
Meg Stuart, Berlin
Melati Suryodarmo, Gross Gleidingen, Germany
Michikazu Matsune, Vienna
Naeem Mohaiemen, Dhaka/NYC
Nibroll - Mikuni Yannaihara & Keisuke Takahashi, Tokyo
Ong Keng Sen, Singapore
Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky, New York City
Rachid Ouramdane, Paris
Raqs Media Collective, New Delhi
Tadasu Takamine, Kyoto
Tiffany Chung, Ho Chi Minh City
Yuen Chee Wai, Singapore
Brian Gothong Tan, Singapore
Brian Gothong Tan is perhaps one of the most exciting and prolific multimedia artists that has emerged from Singapore in recent years. Trained in Fine Arts, Multimedia and Animation at the California Institute of Arts, Brian's works are renowned for their icy, high gloss finish subverted by play and parody.
His multimedia works have been featured in numerous theatre productions His first solo exhibition, Heavenly Cakes and Sentimental Flowers, was held at the Singapore Art Museum in June 2003. Later on, he created Hypersurface, which featured at the 9th Venice Architectural Biennale in 2004. Last year, he was in the cultural segment of the Commonwealth Games at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Federation Square in Melbourne, and was the youngest artist participating in the Singapore Biennale 2006 with his installation, We Live In A Dangerous World. He has recently completed Signs, Omens and Relics of Faith, a interactive multimedia installation as part of the 72-13’s Creatives-in-Residence programme in 2007.
His latest film project, Pleasure Factory, in which he was the Director of Photography and Chief Editor, has been selected to be screened in Cannes Film Festival 2007 under the Un Certain Regard section. He is currently developing a new feature film which will be shot in December 2007.
Caden Manson, New York City
Caden Manson/Big Art Group is a New York City performance company founded in 1999. The company uses the language of media and blended states of performance in a unique form to build culturally transgressive and challenging new works.
Caden, artistic director and co-founder with Jemma Nelson of Big Art Group studied theater at the University of Texas at Austin. A 2002 Pew Fellow, Manson also received a 2001 grant from The Foundation For Contemporary Performance Art for his work with Big Art Group. With his company, he created Shelf Life (2001), Flicker (2002), House of No More (2004), Dead Set (2006-7), The People (2007).
With its core group of members and additional collaborators, each work of Caden Manson/Big Art is first developed and presented in New York before touring nationally and internationally. The company has performed at venues in Berlin, Paris, Rome, Zurich, Glasgow, Dublin, Brussels and many others. Co-producers include Hebbel Am Ufer; Vienna Festwochen; Festival d’Automne à Paris; Le Studio/Maison des Arts de Créteil; Künstlerhaus Mousonturm; The Wexner Center for the Arts; The Kitchen; Performance Space 122.
This year, Manson and Nelson created The People, a transformation of civil life: an expansion of the experiments of real-time film to a panoramic new scale: the conversion of a village into a multi-location video shoot, simultaneously projected & broadcast into the public square: a retelling of the Oresteia in the age of information war and electric vengeance: a counterstrike from the culturally assaulted.
In Manson’s work, narrative breaks apart. Contradictions abound. Characters cannot be trusted. Hysteria and madness overwhelm. Like the characters chasing after one another, the audience finds itself breathless, mentally chasing after the work’s constantly changing meanings. Manson often uses several screens, cameras; and numerous props to create “real-time film,” in which performers and objects are physically superimposed on top of one another. The result is a multi-layered, wildly frenetic film, which is assembled before the spectators’ eyes.
Born and based in Vienna, Austria; Subal studied sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna (1991-93) as well as dance and dance education at the Conservatory, Vienna (1993-96). Since 1992 he has been working as a performer and dancer and has collaborated with Tanztheater Homunculus, Saskia Hölbling, Martine Pisani, Laurent Pichaud, Philipp Gehmacher. He developed stage design for several Dans.Kias productions. He created whipped cream for Imagetanz and Repérages 2005. Since 2004 David Subal has been collaborating with Michikazu Matsune (bio later in this document) and developed various projects together. Their projects, which interface between performing and visual arts, include the site-specific projects for concrete territories, 100% pARTy, I am a Horse.
Projects for concrete territories is a series of works in different public environments … public space as a field for performative work. and so on, the second part of this series, took place in the frame of sommerszene Salzburg 06 in and around the Museum der Moderne Salzburg which is located on the top of a mountain. The performers were installed as artificial substance in nature and so on. The often-discussed opposition between nature and art was artificially provoked by kitschy, poetic images.
In "100% pARTy" Matsune & Subal invited the audience to a pARTy at the Museum for Applied Art, Vienna in March 2007. 450 people celebrated an artificial beach party with smashing sound, hot atmosphere (temperature), various installations and performances by a magician, a break dance group and music bands etc. Matsune & Subal pick out art and entertainment as central themes. At midnight a trip to the holiday island Ibiza together with Matsune & Subal was raffled. Night was Day!
I am a Horse deals with the history of the Museumsquartier Vienna which was a court stable in former times. Two horses are exhibited in the yard of the Museumsquartier for two weeks. Songs and stories about horses are broadcasted for the horses. Performers perform for the horses.
A multi-disciplinary artist, Francis completed his BA and MFA with Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) Australia. Since then, Francis has established himself as one of the most interesting young artists in Singapore.
In 2002, Francis made headlines when he became the first Singaporean to win the grand prize at the Philip Morris Group of Companies Asean Art Awards with Constructing Construction #1.
It was also the first time a photographic work had won the grand prize. No stranger to awards, he has also won the 2002/2003 JCCI (Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Singapore) Arts Award, the 2003 President’s Young Talent Award, the Photography category of the UOB Painting of the Year competition 2004 with Intimate Spaces #1, the 2004/2005 IDC-Design Excellence (Service Industry) Distinction Award and most recently the Young Artist Award in 2006.
In 2003, Francis exhibited at the 50th Venice Biennale. In 2004, he was in the 5th Gwangju Biennale in South Korea and in 2007, his works were featured in the ZKM Museum in Karlsruhe, Germany. In 2004, he took his three-dimensional works out of the gallery by producing the immensely popular humourous sculpture I WAS HERE that has been making its rounds in Singapore. His paintings, sculptures, photographs, furniture and mixed-media installations have also been widely exhibited and collected in countries such as Australia, Germany, France Denmark, China, Thailand and Malaysia.
“Every space, owns a presence, now or once in the past.” (Ng)
The main theme of Francis Ng’s work is the process of self-negotiation between the individual and historical spaces, in-between spaces and non-spaces within the confines of a chosen site. Using his work as a platform to think about the necessities of constant changes to spaces, and how these changes will in turn affect people and alter the fabrics of society, Francis hopes to give a voice to the silenced sites. Often, the history of “presence” in space seems to go unnoticed in the constantly changing system of modern times, especially in the context of Singapore’s city planning. By exploring the constant tension between the new and the old, and between construction and conservation, his work becomes more than a mere mirror of society, engaging the audience in a dialogue about today’s urbanized living.
Julie Atlas Muz, New York City
Muz is a native of Detroit who lives and works in New York City where she is an independent artist most famous as a star of the burlesque stage.
Muz is at present the hottest personality on the gender subculture underground scene in New York as evidenced by this year’s three week sold-out performances Divine Comedy Of An Exquisite Corpse. Muz performed the majority of the show in her version of point shoes: 7" platform heels. Known for her irreverent sense of bawdy humour and kooky performances that leave audiences amazed, another sold out production is I Am The Moon And You Are The Man On Me. With the logic of a supermarket romance novel, Muz played the moon in love with 6 male dancers who were in a race to colonize her. A combination of dance and visual spectacle, the female body is conquered territory in this magical sci-fi tragedy. Her burlesque works have won Miss Exotic World 2006; Miss Coney Island 2006; “Most Memorable Act,” New York Burlesque Festival 2006; Paper Magazine Beautiful Person 2005. These acts have been curated, produced and performed: Andy Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh) 2005; Treasure Box, 2004 Whitney Biennial; and are ongoing in New York City at countless other nightclubs, galleries and theatres. She has been lauded as the “Best Mermaid since Darryl Hannah.”,Village Voice. In the 2005 Valencia Biennale (Spain), she was the cover girl for the catalogue and opened the festival by swimming as a mermaid in “El Mar Rojo,” Europe’s largest saltwater tank, with over 400 fish, two sharks and 1 nasty eel. In New York City, Muz has performed at PS 122, HERE, The Performing Garage, Art at St. Anne’s Warehouse, Joe’s Pub, The Kitchen, Dixon Place, Galapagos. Overseas performances include Hootchy Kootchy Show (Stockholm), Nantes Biennale (France), Braga (Portugal), Paul O’Grady Teatime Show (London). Apart from her personal productions, she has worked as a dancer for the hip downtown choreographer Sarah Michelson. Her fine arts work include a co-curation of Womanizer featuring six cutting-edge performing artists, including Muz, making art objects saturated with femaleness at Deitch Projects, New York City.
“Through the power of dance I tell stories that are beautiful, political, and emotional, with a bold and theatrical irreverence. I use humor, positive sexuality, and glamour to address serious topics in a playful manner.
My performances range from short solos to full-length, large-scale extravaganzas, but the three things I strive for in every show are: developed content, an evident love of the audience and a strong physical and visual presence. I employ showmanship, original costumes, and every conceivable type of stagecraft to immerse the spectators in a thought-provoking, interactive and entertaining experience.
I consider myself a renegade performer whose work reaches across genres, venues, demographics and tax brackets to champion the notion that performance in any context can challenge beliefs and change behavior.” (Muz)
Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba, Ho Chi Minh City
Based in Ho Chi Minh City since 1997, Tokyo-born contemporary visual artist Nguyen-Hatsushiba is acclaimed for his impressive underwater films that have appeared in major group shows in Europe and the United States.
He earned an M.F.A. from the Maryland Institute College of Art after receiving his B.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has had solo exhibitions at the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; the Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rome; Kunstmuseum Luzern, Switzerland; and the Kunsthalle Wien, Austria. His work, themed around Southeast Asia’s turbulent history, has been included in numerous biennials, including the Shanghai Biennale, the Venice Biennale, the Istanbul Biennial, and the Sao Paulo Biennale.
His project with Vietnamese cyclo (bicycle-taxi) drivers and fishermen has resulted in a poetic merger of these two traditional modes of work, which are among the most economically disenfranchised of a country undergoing rapid social transition. In Memorial Project Nha Trang, Vietnam: Toward the Complex-For the Courageous, the Curious, and the Cowards (2001), his best-known video to date, cyclos slowly race each other along the ocean floor with fishermen doing the driving. Viewers have found the languid motion and arduous progress of the rickshaw-like contraptions at the bottom of the sea to be a compelling symbol for an entire nation discovering its identity after a half-century of political turmoil. With direct reference to the impact of the Vietnam War on his country, Nguyen-Hatsushiba's languidly beautiful camerawork deconstructs the fate of those who are caught between old and new modes of existence. As the divers strain to hold their breath long enough to propel their vehicles a few feet farther, additional tension is created between graceful movement and precarious mortality.
Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas: Battle of Easel Point - Memorial Project Okinawa references an American military base with strategic access to Southeast Asia. In this film, divers go underwater carrying easels and armed with paint to participate in a painting "battle." Commenting on the representation and interpretation of war, the divers in this film struggle to create portraits of Hollywood actors who starred in glamorized films about the Vietnam War, but there are no winners and the futile mission cannot be completed.
Kaffe Matthews has been making and performing new electro-acoustic music since 1990. She is acknowledged as a leading figure and pioneer in the field of electronic improvisation and live composition making on average 50 performances a year worldwide. In 1997 she established the label Annette Works, releasing the best of these events on the six cd's, ‘cd Ann', 'cd Bea', 'cd cecile', 'cd dd', 'cd eb and flo' presenting an annual document of ever developing sound worlds.
Currently she is rarely performing, instead directing the collaborative research project Music for Bodies bringing new music and some ideas about listening to everyone. (NESTA Dreamtime Fellowship, 2005).
Kaffe has become known for making site-specific sound works live, playing in the dark in the middle of the space, the audience surrounding her, the sounds moving around them. She uses self-designed software matrices through which she pulls, pushes and reprocesses sounds live, using microphones, a theremin, and feedback within the space; the site then becoming her instrument.
It is from this practice that she has shifted to sonic furniture building, with Sonic Bed London (Distinction, Prix Ars Electronica,2006) and the Worldwide Bed Project being a central pin in this ongoing project.
Her most recent collaborative release, Before the Libretto, by the Lappetites, was voted the WIRE's best top 10 new releases for 2005. She has also been making a growing body of composed works through collaborations with a variety of people, things and processes. From working with NASA astronauts researching the sonic experience of space travel to make BAFTA awarded Weightless Animals: kites and the weather on an uninhabited Scottish island, Sanda - Weather Made; Touching Concrete Lightly for MIMEO and the Oscar Niemeyeyer Pavilion 2003, Serpentine Gallery; and the innovative Radio Cycle, a concept and works for maps, bikes and radios.
Mattthews played classical violin from the age of 7, sang badly in one band but got further with bass and drums in another which recorded and toured for 4 years, in 1985 she discovered electricity and sound and with that, her current trajectory. Since then apart from acid house engineering, electrically reconstructing the violin, Distinction for a Masters in Music Technology, introducing and running a Performance Technology course at one of the leading Live Arts Colleges in the UK, she has also set up a shop and done a Zoology degree along the way.
music for bodies
“It is a research project linking the sonic mapping of human bodies to architecture, through a practical study of bioresonance and interface building.
Its aim is to discover new methods of experimental music making, as well as make new music more accessible to the wider community. It works with an open studio door policy through interactive feedback with a multidisciplinary think tank of professionals, as well as collaboration with local and global communities. It asks the questions and experiments with the outcomes.
Practically speaking, music for bodies is a research project to make new 3D music and physical interfaces for enjoying it directly through your body rather than just your ears.
music for bodies is currently researching the effect of certain frequencies on specific areas of the human body, coming to an understanding of the human body’s response maps in this process. Combined with an exploration into mapping structures for scores through architectural perspectives, it is making music to feel rather than listen to.” (Matthews)
In recent years, Katarina Eismann has participated in several major art projects where the objective has been to use documentation and narrative as tools within the artistic process. Despite their different approaches, the projects have had in common their perspective on process as a spatial, non-linear retelling of an event, where a piece of work emerges as a result of the conversations and encounters that take place.
This work often involves Eismann entering into other people’s projects in her role as an artist, or inviting others to participate in her own work. The ambition is that the material gathered over the course of the project should function as a catalyst, a forum for discussion and questions, a piece of documentation that offers a representation of intangible and complex processes.
For example in Don’t go home at the Dramatiska Institutet, Stockholm. An artistic research project on the emergence of a character on stage, in collaboration with dancers and singers. Eismann’s role involved documenting parts of the process and producing a series of short video loops with titles such as “Reconstruktion” (Reconstruction) and “Formtagningar” (Mouldings). Eismann also produced Connection Barents, DVD, 2006. Over the course of 3 weeks spent in the border area between Russia, Norway and Finland, she was commissioned to provide artistic leader Ong Keng Sen with video work during the work lab Connection Barents, as well as to document the process and produce an audiovisual piece that mirrored and interpreted the form of the lab, the summer light, the landscape, the tapestry of encounters and narratives that took place.
Eismann has also produced pieces that build on the concept of creating a space where several artists can contribute and, with their different forms of expression, allow a piece of work to take shape. This can be seen in her new work, a music/video installation in three parts, Algol.
Hence, she has positioned herself as an initiator, participant and observer in different art projects.
At times there may also be a more profound relationship between the role Eismann creates for herself in these projects and tasks, and her background of growing up in a large family, in a mélange of different cultures, constantly on the move between different environments.
This ambivalence, the process of quickly trying to grasp what has happened since you were last in this situation and adapting to ever-changing surroundings, is what Eismann has developed into an art form, into an instrument for mirroring often-convoluted processes.
This can be related to an early video, Cs hus (The house of C), 1997/9. Stories from a building beside the airport in Sarajevo, produced just after the end of the war in the Balkans. Has been exhibited as part of Blick, a mobile exhibition by Nifca and Moderna Museet in Stockholm. Stories from the house in Sarajevo also form part of the book “Planritningar” (“Blueprints”). The blueprints form a kind of written road movie, where Katarina and her cousin search for a building that has disappeared and meet other people along the way, who tell stories of other buildings.
Her newest work is Foldout, a work in progress. A survey of different approaches in creating documentary material. The starting point of the project is a bundle of letters found by Katarina, that her father sent to his sisters in Budapest during the Second World War. A piece of work focusing on how family memories are passed on to the next generation. How identity is formed by inherited stories, and how they can be transcribed in a new time and place.
In addition to creating exhibitions and other art productions, Katarina Eismann has taught courses and held workshops in venues such as University College of Dance and Dramatiska Institutet in Stockholm.
In 2002, in the art centre Nha San Duc, Kim Ngoc presented the experimental work Dream of Street Children. Reports in the Vietnamese press spoke of a ‘music performance’. The magazine Visiting Art on the other hand described the event as ‘figurative theater’. They wrote: “Abandoning the written text in favour of new ways of communicating with the audience, Kim Ngoc's work promises a ground-breaking new vision for Vietnamese contemporary theater.”
Kim Ngoc herself describes her compositions as ‘Music Theater’. She has since performed four Music Theater pieces in Germany and in the USA and has enjoyed considerable public response. The last music theatre piece, entitled Absence, was commissioned and produced by the 10th Munich Biennial of Contemporary Music in 2006. Absence was a musical and spatial concept which Kim Ngoc developed for Munich’s Glyptothek. During an intense period of research on-site, the composer developed a choreographic concert in which she, four percussionists, a dancer, and a monk participated. Rather than being assigned set places, the audience was guided around the museum by the elements of light, dance, and sound.
An interesting grant that Kim Ngoc has received is the Siemens' Artists-in-Residence Program, part of the international Silk Road Projects in the USA. With this, she spent two months in Newport News, Virginia. At a factory operated by Siemens VDO Automotive there, she conducted sonic research on large, noisy machinery, as well as becoming better acquainted with and inspired by the work processes. In a studio set up especially for her at the factory, she had the opportunity to compose her music undisturbed, while simultaneously being able to directly share her experience with Siemens' employees onsite. The employees, on the other hand, were invited to listen to traditional and contemporary music at "listening stations" set up in the factory's lounge areas. Kim Ngoc's new composition was presented at two concluding concerts, one of which was performed inside the factory. The world premiere was performed by the famous Silk Road Ensemble, which has given many successful concerts throughout the world together with the American cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
For the duration of her sojourn in the USA, she turned her attention to the theme of mobility: automobile noise and car horns are associated with new prosperity in Hanoi; life without cars would be inconceivable in the USA. Kim Ngoc planed to juxtapose "Autoland USA" with Vietnam. To accomplish this, she included in her composition, street sounds and road noise that she recorded in Hanoi.
After completing her training in piano and composition at the State Conservatory in Hanoi, the young Vietnamese composer came to Cologne on a two-year DAAD-scholarship. For the most part she composes for Western instruments, but she also draws on astonishing vocal techniques and a software developed specially for her purposes. Recently, however, Kim Ngoc has increasingly returned to traditional Vietnamese instruments in her compositions.
What makes the spider spin her web is her latest work and offers a mixture of music, theater set, acting and video art:
“ ‘What makes the spider spin her web’ is a well-known line from an old Vietnamese folk song which often appears in other traditional songs. This sentence is both a question and a lament. It affects me powerfully, calling to mind women, a rope binding them, a journey shared, from the ancestors to the present day." (Kim Ngoc)
Koosil-Ja, New York City
Koosil-ja moved to New York in 1981 to study dance with Merce Cunningham. She has received five National Endowment for the Arts Choreographer Fellowships and three New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships. Her work has been presented in New York by such venues as the 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Center; The Kitchen; La MaMa E.T.C.; Aaron Davis Hall; Performance Space 122; The Performing Garage; Danspace Project at St. Mark's Church; Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors; Central Park SummerStage; Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria. Nationally, she has been presented in diverse venues including Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival; Dance Umbrella, Austin, TX; Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis, MN; American Dance Festival, Durham, NC; the University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI. International performances have included the European Dance Development Center and Schowburg in Arnhem, The Netherlands; das Haus der Kultern der Welt in Berlin; Woo.Co in Copenhagen, Denmark.
In addition to her own projects, Koosil-ja has worked with the Wooster Group for several years, touring with North Atlantic and To You the Birdie! (Phedre).
In September 2004, Koosil-ja received a New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award in Choreography for the creation of mech[a]OUTPUT, and deadmandancing EXCESS.
Koosil-ja also creates and performs music. In 1984, she co-founded the band Bosho as a percussionist and vocalist and toured over thirty cities in Europe and Japan. She currently performs solo electronic music with her laptop at various venues nationally and internationally. She composed music for her own dance works memoryscan and The Anatomy of Happiness.
For a radical experimentation on ‘presence’ and ‘absence’ and based on her study on Gill Deleuze and Felix Gutarri’s key idea, Body Without Organs, Koosil-ja created Dance Without Bodies which was commissioned and presented by The Kitchen in New York City in 2006. In May 2007, the Japan Society in New York City commissioned and presented a re-staging of mech[a]OUTPUT, a digital opera based on the Noh play Dojoji. This is a multimedia dance piece with a live 3-D game space, live Neo Punk Rock music, songs and a video pendulum. Legends surrounding Dojo-ji Temple in Wakayama, located southeast of Osaka, have inspired numerous noh and kabuki plays about the vengeful spirit of a spurned woman. Koosil-ja transposes the work into her own aesthetic and political discourse between Original and Simulacrum (a thing itself), and Digital and Flesh.
Koosil-ja was recently awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, which she will use to develop a new work, Blocks of Continuality/Movement. The piece will premiere in New York City in Winter 2008.
Koosil-ja was born in Osaka, Japan of Korean parentage. One of her early works depicts a Korean's experience during the Japanese annexation of Korea, which began in 1920. Koosil-ja created a character named Masao, who is forced by the Japanese to surrender his Korean name/identity and replace it with a Japanese one. She said, "During the early stages of the creative process, the character existed outside of me, but at a certain point I began to feel an identification with him. Koreans living in Japan today, the war-era alienation remains: unable to return to their ancestral home and unable to put down firm roots in Japan, they are destined to live in a place that belongs to neither one.”
Luigi de Angelis, Ravenna, Italy
Luigi de Angelis founded Fanny & Alexander together with Chiara Lagani in Ravenna in 1992. He is director, set designer, graphic artist, filmmaker, light and sound designer, music assembler, performer. He has studied Gregorian Chant and piano. The direction and conception of his works always start from a relationship amongst music, sound space and scenic space, drawing on figurative arts and contemporary music repertoire.
“Fanny & Alexander has activated fifty events ranging across theatre, video and film productions, installations, performances, photographic exhibitions, conferences and study workshops, festivals and encounters.
They are distinguished for their omnivorous use of whatever expressive means, the language, the technology, the media or the instrumentations. To define them as only theatre does not give merit to their creative steak: photographs, videos, speaking objects, sounds, a twisted love for linguistic games (anagrams, charades, puzzles) are the main ingredients they put into their shows. These make the work of Fanny & Alexander come to life, a magma that is expanded into a thousand streams.
The topics are stolen from the world of infancy, it hints at a schizoid childhood and its premature collapse. Both the choice of their name, the literary titles from which their works are freely drawn (Ada by Nabokov, Alice by Lewis Carroll), the colours, the settings, the scenery, testify their obsessive attention. The name Fanny & Alexander is the title of one of last films of the great director Ingmar Bergman , that speaks, not by chance, about two young adolescents, who are about to face the abrupt interruption of their youth.
Often playing with ‘an impeccable structure of terror and fantasy’, they juxtapose subjective scenery and narrative device as a deformed projection of the main character that merges dream and truth. It is the mania of childhood that guides the vision of Alice for instance. Likewise Heliogabalus (created in collaboration with Belgium performers), the paradox of the adolescent roman emperor Mark Aurelio Antonio, inundated by the cult of the sun El-Galab, called to govern at 14 years old and murdered at 18 by his people . A hallucinating story that had already stuck the fantasy of Antonin Artaud.” (drawn from the text of Teresa De Feo)
In 2001 Fanny and Alexander started a video and cinematic opera project on the use of video in theatre with Zapruder Filmakers Group, winning the Werkleitz prize at the Internationale Kurzfilmtage in Oberhausen for ‘outstanding artistic use of digital media’.
Meg Stuart, Berlin
At the invitation of Klapstuk 1991 in Leuven, Belgium; Meg Stuart made her first full-length production Disfigure Study (1991). It was the start to an impressive series of productions the choreographer made with her company Damaged Goods, which has been based in Brussels since 1994.
The name ‘Damaged Goods’ derives from Stuart’s fascination with the imperfection of the human body. Meg Stuart is fascinated with the nakedness and ugliness of the body, which she perceives as ‘disfigured’ or ‘damaged’. Her choreographies often show twisting, falling, coiling bodies, bodies that are not governed by the mind but act as autonomous, self-willed entities. In the 1990s Damaged Goods and Meg Stuart quickly gained wide recognition both in Belgium and in Europe with such evening-length pieces as No Longer Readymade (1993) and No One is Watching (1995), which have toured extensively.
The work of Damaged Goods is specifically characterized by its ongoing search for new kinds of cooperation between theatre, art and architecture, and for new contexts for presentation, heralded in the dance installation for the exhibition This is the Show and the Show is Many Things at the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst [Museum of contemporary art, now SMAK] in Ghent (1994).
Stuart has chosen to collaborate with artists from a variety of disciplines: e.g. visual artist Ann Hamilton, theatre directors Christoph Marthaler, Stefan Pucher and Frank Castorf, video artists Gary Hill and Chris Kondek, composer Hahn Rowe, and writer/director Tim Etchells.
On June 7 2007 the new work Maybe Forever, a duet with the Austrian dancer and choreographer Philipp Gehmacher, had its premiere at Kaaitheater, Brussels.
Meg Stuart also created Swallow My Yellow Smile (1994), commissioned by the ballet company of the Deutsche Oper Berlin and, in association with graphic designer Bruce Mau, Remote (1997) for Mikhail Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project. In 2004, Somewhere in between was made, a film by the French filmmaker Pierre Coulibeuf, adapted from a special creation by Meg Stuart.
Between 1996 and 1999 Meg Stuart was involved in Crash Landing, an improvisation project for dancers, musicians, video and sound artists, and designers. Crash Landing ran into five editions: Leuven, Vienna, Paris, Lisbon and Moscow. Between March 2000 and March 2001 Meg Stuart and Damaged Goods created Highway 101. In conjunction with a partly varying artistic team; movement, sound and video material was developed with a view to a number of specifically chosen places in Europe. Highway 101 thus gradually evolved into a continuous self-commemorative and redefining project, focussing on memory, the relationship with the audience and the use of space.
From 1997 Meg Stuart / Damaged Goods was one of the artists-in-residence at the Kaaitheater in Brussels. From 2001 until 2004 the company took up residence at the Schauspielhaus Zürich. Since the 2002–03 season Meg Stuart and Damaged Goods also collaborate with the Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz in Berlin.
In 2000 Meg Stuart and Damaged Goods received the Culture Prize K.U.Leuven. In 2006 Meg Stuart received the Deutsche Theaterpreis DER FAUST for her choreography of Replacement.
Meg Stuart & Damaged Goods are supported by the Flemish authorities and the Flemish Community Commission.
Melati Suryodarmo-Lutz, Gross Gleidingen, Germany
A native of Surakarta, Indonesia now based in Germany, Suryodarmo-Lutz spent nine years pursuing a Postgraduate and undergraduate degree, studying under Marina Abramovic at the Hochschule fuer Bildende Kuenste, Braunschweig, Germany. In her first degree in performance art and sculpture, she also studied under Anzu Furukawa.
From 1988 to 1995, she was involved in various dance and theatre performances in Indonesia and Germany. Since then, her solo and collaborative work has also been presented at exhibitions and festivals in Denmark, Portugal, Spain. Italy, Ireland, Brazil, the United States, Finland. Suryodarmo has been a facilitator for Time_Place_Space 5, curated and organized by the Performance Space Sydney Australia and has enjoyed a residency at Grace Exhibition Space, New York. In the later part of 2007, on top of being involved with TheatreWorks The Flying Circus Project, she will be presenting her work at in Paris, Poland, Berlin and Sweden.
“I intend to touch the fluid border between the body and its environment through my art works. I aim to create a concentrated level of intensity without the use of narrative structures. Talking about politics, society or psychology makes no sense to me if the nerves are not able to digest the information. I love it when a performance reaches a level of factual absurdity.” (Suryodarmo)
Melati Suryodarmo's performances are concerned with cultural, social and political aspects of life through which she articulates through her psychological and physical body. Her performances combine a highly arresting physicality with sharp confidence and sensuality. Suryodarmo combines her own spiritual experiences with a comparative study of spirituality in Javanese tradition, Islam, Buddhism and Christianity. She believes that spirituality in the world of visual arts is necessary to experience the surrounding environment, particularly during a time when we are beset by political and economic disasters.
In Alé Lino, Suryodarmo stands on a plinth for two hours, holding a long spear towards her abdomen at an angle of 45°. It is a performance work which articulates a need to be able to touch the layers of emptiness. This is a layer of the mind, which she considers a bridge between a human being and its God, spiritual guides, nature, the supra-natural power. The transformation from being a gendered human being into a genderless identity informs the concept behind this work. The spear used in this performance is pointing, centred, at the upper part of her body. The triangle between her body, the spear and the ground is the space of her life secrets, becoming a map which contains her undiscovered patterns of behaviour.
Melati Suryodarmo started developing Alé Lino by researching the Bissu, a group of shamen who live in South Sulawesi, Indonesia and who are held in high regard by the local Bugis people. They are mostly transsexual and homosexual, though Suryodarmo is less concerned with gender diversity as a focus and more interested in the spiritual principle, which includes the transsexual state. The Bissu regard their transsexuality as a way of losing human identity as defined by gender differentiation. The highest level of spirituality the Bissu seek to attain is seen as flowing from a life free from all the sexual determination.
Kobe native Matsune was trained in Eurythmie and Dance at the Steiner College in Järna, Sweden (1993 – 1997). Based in Vienna, he has been working as dancer and performer whose forte is projects with live performance, video and photography.
His work has taken him to various cities such as Paris, Cyprus, Oslo, Kyoto and Belgium. He’s well-known as a regular collaborator with David Subal, with whom he has worked with since 2004; their projects include the above and store. They sell performances, movements and actions in store. The visitors are audiences and customers at the same time. store questions the mechanism of presentation of theatres, museums, galleries and shops. It playfully looks at consumption of art and consumption of consuming culture.
With Subal, Matsune is currently working on the ongoing series one hour standing for, a performance and video-works in 24 capitals of the world. Most recently, they presented WIN FOR U! at the ImPulsTanz Festival in July, pushing the boundaries of art and entertainment by staging a live lottery where audiences won special prizes such as web products.
Naeem Mohaiemen, Dhaka/New York City
Naeem Mohaiemen works in Dhaka and New York, using video, photography, archive and text. His areas of obsession include national security panic, failed revolutionary movements, and the jump from utopia to dystopia.
Naeem co-founded Visible Collective, a coalition of artist-activists, as part of a 3-year investigation of post 9/11 hysteria (Disappeared In America, 2006 Whitney Biennial; Oppose Us & Rome Will Not Forgive You A Second Time, Himal, Nepal). He is currently exploring parallel histories between urban guerilla groups (War of six six six against sixty million, Finnish Museum of Photography; Sartre Kommt Nach Stammheim, Pavillion Bucharest; Young Man Was No Longer..., Dictionary of War, Munich). Other projects include Muslims Or Heretics: My Camera Can Lie? (UK House of Lords), Penn Station Kills Me (w/ Gensler+Gutierrez, Exit Art, New York), and System Error: War is a Force that gives us Meaning (w/ Lorenzo Fusi, Palazzo Papesse, Siena).
Naeem's texts includes Guerillas in the Mist (Sarai: Turbulence, Delhi), Fear of a Muslim Planet: Islamic Roots of Hip-Hop (Sound Unbound, DJ Spooky ed., MIT Press, 2008), Beirut: Illusion of a Silver Porsche (Men of Global South, Adam Jones ed., Zed Books, 2007), Mind Crimes Trials for (Sweetly) Silent Artists (Aprior), and Why Mahmud Can't be a Pilot (Nobody Passes, Matt Bernstein ed., Seal Press).
Mikuni Yanaihara and Keisuke Takahashi, Tokyo
Nibroll was founded in 1997 by Mikuni Yanaihara. This Japanese artists collective is known for performances that feature dance and multimedia to reflect contemporary urban life, expressed through fresh and innovative movement. Their work has been likened not just to dance, but a play, an exhibition, a concert or even a movie.
Winner of the Japan Dance Forum Award 2007. Their No Parking received the National Assembly Award at The Yokohama Platform of Rencontres Choreographiques Internationales de Seine St.Denis in 2002. They have performed at Avignon Festival, The Kitchen, New York City, The Japan Society, New York City, Laokoon Kampnagel Summer Festival in Hamburg, Tanzhaus Dance Festival Germany, Maison de la Culture du Japon a Paris, The Bangkok Playhouse, The Shriram Centre in New Delhi India, Juli Dance Festival Netherlands, among others.
The company has launched a fashion brand Nibroll about Street as well Nibroll Technique, a record label; it has also begun to make video installations. Nibroll/Keisuke Takahashi exhibited an installation of video art and dance in Roppongi Crossing (at Mori Art Museum) and won a Mori Art Museum Membership Special Prize in 2004. He also exhibited a work of video art in the Shanghai Biennale in September 2004. He won an Outstanding Achievement Award of Graz Art Project 2005(Austria). He produced works in Taipei under the residency program sponsored by exchange program Yokohama and Taipei (2005).
In 2005, Nibroll took a rest for two years while its main creators worked independently outside of the company in the fields of dance, video, fashion. It re-started in 2007 with No direction, every day performed in Fukuoka Foundation ART and Cultural Tokyo Panasonic Center. Nibroll will make a new performance Romeo or Juliet in Jun 2008 at Tokyo Setagaya Public Theatre.
Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky, New York City
Paul D. Miller is a conceptual artist, writer, and musician working in New York. His written work has appeared in The Village Voice, The Source, Artforum, Raygun, Rap Pages, Paper Magazine, and a host of other periodicals. Miller's first collection of essays, Rhythm Science, was published by MIT Press in April 2004, and was included in several year-end lists of the best books of 2004, including the Guardian (UK) and Publishers Weekly. Sound Unbound, an anthology of writings on sound art and multi-media by contemporary cultural theorists will follow Rhythm Science.
Miller's work as a media artist has appeared in a wide variety of contexts such as the Whitney Biennial; The Venice Biennial for Architecture (year 2000); The Venice Biennial of Art 2007 (Africa Pavilion), the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, Germany; Kunsthalle, Vienna; The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and many other museums and galleries. His 2004 solo show at the Paula Cooper Gallery in New York, Path Is Prologue, echoed his live music/theater/film performance, DJ Spooky's Rebirth of A Nation, which ran simultaneously at the Lincoln Center Festival after premieres in Vienna and at Spoleto USA in Charleston, SC and continues to tour globally. 2007 finds him working with internationally acclaimed stage director and playwright Robert Wilson, and preparing to travel to Antarctica to being research and production on his next large scale multimedia performance piece The Antarctic Suite.
But even with all this, Miller is most well known under the moniker of his "constructed persona" as "DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid". Miller has recorded a huge volume of music and has collaborated a wide variety of musicians and composers such as Iannis Xenakis, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Kronos Quartet, Kool Keith a.k.a. Doctor Octagon, Pierre Boulez, Killa Priest from Wu-Tang Clan, Steve Reich, Yoko Ono and Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth among many others. He also composed and recorded the music score for the Cannes and Sundance Award winning film Slam, starring critically acclaimed poet Saul Williams.
In 2006, Miller was given access to the vaults of the classic reggae label Trojan Records, resulting in his landmark compilation release In Fine Style, DJ Spooky Presents 50,0000 Volts of Trojan Records!!! on Sanctuary Records. Prior to that CD, Miller's most recently released Drums of Death, featuring Dave Lombardo of Slayer, Chuck D. of Public Enemy, Vernon Reid of Living Color, and Jack Dangers of Meat Beat Manifesto. Other notable recent albums include Optometry (2002), a jazz project featuring Matthew Shipp, William Parker, Joe McPhee, Carl Hancock Rux, Daniel Bernard Roumain, and High Priest from Anti-Pop Consortium; Dubtometry (2003), a dub remix of the same, featuring Lee "Scratch" Perry and Mad Professor; and Riddim Clash (2004), a collaboration with Twilight Dub Sound System.
In addition to his numerous records and articles released under the DJ Spooky name, another important project was a collaboration with Bernard Tschumi, Dean of Columbia University's architecture department. In the magazine world, Miller is co-publisher along with legendary African American downtown poet Steve Cannon of the magazine, A Gathering of Tribes - a periodical dedicated to new works by writers from a multicultural context and he was the first Editor-at-large of the cutting edge digital media magazine, Artbyte: The Magazine of Digital Culture.
French-born of Algerian descent, Rachid Ouramdane is at the forefront of Europe’s new generation of conceptual dance-thinkers and performers who are bringing vital new ideas to the stage.
Ouramdane’s projects deal with singularity. His performances probe the emotional and imaginary worlds of whomever he encounters. These shows take shape through the discovery of each person’s uniqueness, where every encounter gives rise to a different dialogue. The ever-present video images serve as an extension of the other, giving us access into his/her mental space. The image sets up a dialogue between individuals and their doubles. Such devices enable Rachid Ouramdane to get in touch with the other’s subjectivity and imagination.
Numerous projects have grappled with the construction of contemporary identities enmeshed with the modernization of our societies, and with the reconfiguration caused by geo-cultural upheaval. This inquiry was sharpened for the 2004 solo Les morts pudiques (Discreet Deaths), a sort of self-portrait investigating death and its imagery among today’s youth. Spurred by an Internet search on thee subjects, Ouramdane references the web-fanned spread of suicide, goth subcultures, young offenders facing the death penalty in the U.S., and a Palestinian suicide bomber. Plasma video screens frame the set to echo the media’s ever-present obsession with these phenomena. This solo described by The New York Times as “technically sophisticated, conceptually fascinating, brilliantly danced and disquieting as only the best art can be” has been seen all over Europe and the US.
Following several work residencies in Brazil, Ouramdane created Cover, consisting of four solos, for Brazilian artists.
In addition, he joined forces with the Bonlieu Scène Nationale of Annecy, and went on to premiere most of his shows at this major national theater.
As a guest artist at the Ballet de l’Opéra de Lyon, he created Superstars, consisting of seven solos. The dancers from the Ballet who took part were of diverse nationalities.
In 2006, he created Un garçon debout, a solo show performed by writer/director Pascal Rambert.
Upon invitation by Pascal Rambert, Rachid Ouramdane is currently an associate artist at the CDN Théâtre of Gennevilliers. Drawing on his exploration of identity, his various projects have real bearing on Gennevilliers. He also works in collaboration with the theater’s team to develop new forms of encounters, specific to each creation, while intertwining these projects with the everyday life of the city. His show Surface de réparation, for eight young athletes from Gennevilliers, tackles the sports-gesture in order to reveal the underlying intimacy that connects these teenagers to their sport. This will premiere as part of this year’s Festival d’Automne, Paris.
Raqs Media Collective has been variously described as artists, media practitioners, curators, researchers, editors and catalysts of cultural processes. Their work, which has been exhibited widely in major international spaces and events, locates them squarely along the intersections of contemporary art, historical enquiry, philosophical speculation, research and theory - often taking the form of installations, online and offline media objects, performances and encounters.
Their work engages with urban spaces and global circuits, persistently welding a sharp, edgily contemporary sense of what it means to lay claim to the world from the streets of Delhi. At the same time, Raqs articulates an intimately lived relationship with myths and histories of diverse provenances. Raqs sees its work as opening out a series of investigations with image, sound, software, objects, performance, print, text and lately, curation, that straddle different (and changing) affective and aesthetic registers, expressing an imaginative unpacking of questions of identity and location, a deep ambivalence towards modernity and a quiet but consistent critique of the operations of power and property.
In 2001 Raqs co-founded Sarai (www.sarai.net) at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) in Delhi where they coordinate media productions, pursue and administer independent research and practice projects and also work as members of the editorial collective of the Sarai Reader series. For Raqs, Sarai is a space where they have the freedom to pursue interdisciplinary and hybrid contexts for creative work and to develop a sustained engagement with urban space and with different forms of media.
Currently, Raqs Media Collective is co-curating Manifesta 2008 (Biennial of Contemporary European Art) in the Sud Tyrol-Alto Adige Region of Northern Italy.
Raqs has exhibited at various venues including Mattress Factory Museum of Contemporary Art, Pittsburgh; Istanbul Biennale, Lund Konsthall, Sweden; Museum of Kommunication, Frankfurt (Solo Exhibition); MuHKA, Antwerp; Nature Morte Gallery, New Delhi; Sydney Biennial; 51st Venice Biennale; 2nd Guangzhou Triennial; Bose Pacia Gallery, New York (Solo Exhibition); Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels (Solo Exhibition); Liverpool Biennial; Taipei Biennial 2004; Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis; Generali Foundation, Vienna; Itau Cultural Centre, Sao Paulo and Documenta 11.
Tadasu Takamine is one of the most controversial, thought provoking, irreverent media, video and installation artist working in Japan right now. He is a frequent collaborator with other performance artists, such as the influential artists collective Dumb Type. He has been an artist-in- residence at Jerusalem Center for the Visual Arts, Banff Center for the Arts and Saw Video Centre for the Media Arts, Ottawa. He has exhibited extensively throughout Asia, North America and Europe, as well as Australia, Israel, Mexico and South Africa.
Takamine's individual performance and moving image works engage almost masochistic levels of endurance and frequently focus on sexuality, humanity and the body. Two of his works include God Bless America and Kimaru-San.
In the ironic video God Bless America which premiered in the Venice Biennale under the curation of Hou Han-ru, Takamine used a huge block of clay to create an ani-mated head. The lump of clay constantly sings 'God Bless America.' Around the head, in a red studio room, caught in the animated picture are frames of the artist and his female assistant eating, drinking, sleeping and making love. It is the obsessive dedication to their work that makes such a wonderful piece.
Takamine's video Kimaru-San featured a video of the artist assisting a friend who is unable to speak or move unaided, the assistance includes relieving his friend's sexual tension. Takamine extended the boundaries of traditional 'personal care', challenged the stereotypical equation of disability with asexuality and thoroughly questioned the notions of societal concern of physically challenged individuals in our midst. In a performance in IKON Gallery as the film was projected, Takamine strapped his head into an ergonomic metal cage, smashing panes of glass with his head and grinding the shards with his forehead.
One of Takamine’s exhibitions in Australia involved him driving from his residency at 24HRArt in Darwin to Gertrude Contemporary Art Space in Melbourne, arriving just in time to install his work during the opening-night event. Takamine travelled across the northwest of the country, along the Tannami Track to Alice Springs, to Lake Eyre, and finally into Melbourne. The artist used his journey through the Australian landscape as an exploration of cultural exchange, and as a catalyst for producing a number of new video, photographic and ceramic works en-route. On the opening night of the exhibition, Takamine installed his exhibition in the presence of gallery visitors, printing large-scale photographic works in-situ, and hanging numerous other pre-prepared prints. This was also the first opportunity to view video documentation of the trip, as well as Takamine’s newly created ceramic works produced using Raku firings on indigenous sites.
For Asian-American artist Tiffany Chung the return to her native country of Vietnam has provided her with a vivid window into the country’s rapid and ongoing urban transformation. Chung has both a fascination and revulsion towards the excessive proliferation and absorption of pop culture in Vietnam today. Revelling in artifice and simulacra, Chung’s art is immersed in the burgeoning escapist spirit of capitalism that has gradually emerged from the wake of post-war trauma. Her work often incorporates industrial materials into fine hand-crafted sculptural pieces served with a huge dose of humour. In her latest work, Chung constructs deliberately synthetic, quirky, bubblegum-coloured fantastical cityscapes. These tempt desires by surrounding viewers with incessant sensory stimuli, evocative of living in a crazed commercially driven conurbation. Combining pop art, abstraction and minimalism, Chung’s topographic drawings chart the dynamic expansion of the Asian megalopolis but are also a psychological mapping of its materially-minded inhabitants. The hyper-real colour and form of Chung’s art evokes the melting pot of cultural juxtapositions, mutation, and saturation that has become common eye-candy to the developing Asian city. Chung is a champion to the disposable superficiality of everyday kitsch, her seemingly light-hearted and whimsical approach is underscored by personal historical legacies alongside complexities of identity and migration. (drawn from text of Tonsun exhibition curated by Steven Pettifor)
Tiffany graduated with an MFA in Studio Art, University of California, Santa Barbara. Her solo exhibitions include Beyond Soft Air and Cotton Candy (USA, 2006), Famous for 15” at the Sugarless Factory (photosessions with the people of Fukuoka in studio settings of daily commodities for the Fukuoka Triennale at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, 2005).
Recently, Tiffany was artist-in-residence at Ssamzie Space, Seoul; Fukuoka Asian Art Museum; Bankart Yokohama; and Arcus Project, Ibaraki, Japan. Her group exhibitions include transPOP: Korea Vietnam Remix (Arko Art Centre, Seoul, 2007); Confectionaries/Conurbations (Tonsun Gallery, Bangkok, 2007); ArtWalkAmsterdam, 2006; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 2006; Blackburn Museum & Art Gallery, 2006; and Identities Versus Globalisation (Dahlem Museum, Berlin).
Her public art projects include Kids’ Corner (Japan, 2005). For the Fukuoka Asian Art Festival 2005, Tiffany created a concert, Soft Air and Cotton Candy. The concert aimed to present popular culture of Vietnam different from what was reported about Vietnam in relation to the Vietnamese War or to tourist guidebooks.
Chee Wai is a designer, photographer and sound artist. As a sound artist, he has performed extensively locally and overseas. He has designed and composed sound for dance, film and TV / radio. His sound explorations take the drone / ambient / field recording approaches. Chee Wai’s strong interest in Philosophy and Cultural Studies often finds him incorporating textual ideas and concepts in his sound work, with themes like memory, loss and invisibility as main thought trajectories.
Chee Wai also performs in the bands hellokittyriots and Light of the South. He is also a founding member of sporesac (Singapore Sonic Arts Collective), a collective of sound artists based in Singapore. As an artist featured in the Singapore Biennale 2006, he installed a piece of work entitled, The Fog Is Rising, with George Chua. Chee Wai makes a daily living dredging through design and photography work for his own design boutique, ferret.