SoftMachine: An expedition across the choreographic landscape of Asia
Exhibition with excerpts from video interviews with 86 choreographers from 5 Asian contries
Sophiensaele, Foyer Festsaal | 14.–16.8. + 21.8. + 22.8., 15:00–20:00
The choreographer and dancer Choy Ka Fai has been documenting the current situation of dance in Asia since 2012 in his multimedia archive and performance cycle SoftMachine. The impetus for the project was an exoticising promotional video which predicted the future of contemporary dance in Asia. Choy Ka Fai decided to document the culturally very diverse state of contemporary dance in five Asian countries – independently of Western academic discourses. Four years later he has conducted 88 video interviews with choreographers, dancers and curators from China, Japan, India, Indonesia and Singapore, and has also brought about four performances in which the choreographers outline their version and vision of contemporary dance in Asia. Two of these performances can be seen in Berlin in the double bill SoftMachine: Rianto & Surjit Nongmeikapam.
The Indonesian Rianto specialises in the traditional erotic lengger dance, in which he attempts to seduce his male spectators in a cross-gender performance. Also adept in other Javanese dance forms, Rianto has been living in Tokyo since 2003. His SoftMachine performance explores the tension between traditional and contemporary choreographic practices, between male and female, urban versus rural.
Surjit Nongmeikapam mastered classical Indian dance forms and martial arts. He is one of the first dancers in Manipur, India, to experiment with contemporary dance. His SoftMachine performance was explicitly devised for a European audience, and exposes artistic strategies, marketing ideologies and the questionable attempt to exoticise oneself.
SoftMachine: Rianto (Documentary + Performance) SoftMachine: Surjit (Documentary + Performance)
Duration: 30min + 40min (Double Bill)
SoftMachine is commissioned by Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, Singapore for da:ns festival 2015.
The development of the project is funded by National Arts Council, Singapore. With support from TheatreWorks, Singapore - danceBox, Kobe - Kyoto Experiment - Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts, Bangalore and Living Dance Studio, Beijing.
SoftMachine Digital Archives are created with the support of deSingel, Antwerp.