What's It About When We Talk About Asia | being in Asia

【HUGO BOSS ASIA ART 2015】RAM Performance | Being in Asia: When Disrupter Meets the Philosophy of Pain

Venue: 4F, Rockbund Art Museum
Moderator: Zhang Yuan
Performer: Paper Tiger Studio, contact Gonzo group

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Fei Fei Fei Fei, Paper Tiger (China)
Performers: Tian Gebing, Wang Yanan, Lei Yan and etc.
The dance was performed before under the title of “Fei Fei Fei Fei” (four Chinese homophones, which literally mean “not”, “fat”, “bandit” and “fee” respectively). The title can be changed to any combination of four homophones, such as “Hu Hu Hu Hu (which literally mean “mutual”, “neglect”, “fox” and “tiger” respectively), the present title of the dance. Such word play is uncommon in the naming of dance performances and exposes its intention to deliberately sabotage the choreography. It also indicates the plight of the choreographer as well as the plight of dance and theater. However, these similar syllables when passing through the body in a flood can produce a different kind of energy.

Untitled Movements, 30’, Contact Gonzo (Japan)
Performers : NAZE, Takuya Matsumi, Keigo Mikajiri, Yuya Tsukahara
This is one of the most simple performances that has been invented by contact Gonzo over 10 years.Totally improvisational movements, hard contact, stomping and dragging each other, throwing stuffs, all other totally non-sense moves, derives from influences from all sorts of sports, camping, videos of martial arts on the internet, skate culture, history of dance, modern philosophy, oh and even cooking.

Event Schedule:

19:30-20:00 Fei Fei Fei Fei
20:10-20:40 Untitled Movements
20:45-21:30 Paper Tiger have conversation with contact Gonzo

About the Artists

Paper Tiger is an independent theatrical performing group of dancers, artists as well as people from different areas led by Tian Gebing. Since 1997, Paper Tiger has created and curated numerous works and art projects and its "heterotopian" contemporary theater aesthetics have matured through these practices. In 2010, Paper Tiger set up their own theater space and began to organize "playing the fool", which can be roughly defined as a theater festival, to support young creators and independent theater groups. In the same year, Tian Gebing and Paper Tigers started to engage in cross-cultural and theatrical creation and in 2012 they started the large scale research project “Mass: Very Happy” which included field research in both China and Germany. The theatrical part of this project made its debut at a famous indoor theater in Munich, Germany in October 2014 and turned out to be a well-acclaimed success.

contact Gonzo is a collective from Osaka, Japan, that combines improvisational physical contact with legendary journalist Hunter S. Thompson’s “gonzo” aesthetics. They work in public sites mountains, rivers, galleries, museums, theaters and alleys around the world, with performances that may seem either a street mosh or a sophisticated dance. In recent years contact Gonzo became the focus of increasing attention in both the performing arts and contemporary art scenes. Currently contact Gonzo consists of five members with different back grounds, including NAZE, Takuya Matsumi, Keigo Mikajiri and Yuya Tsukahara.

About the curator

Zhang Yuan is a theatrical producer who is also engaged in writing and translation on contemporary culture and art. In 2009, he shifted his focus from traditional theater to contemporary theater and started interdisciplinary cooperation with domestic independent artists and art groups. In recent years, he has been devoted to organizing and promoting intercultural dialogues on contemporary theater, trying to bring about new topics in different contexts. He also translated screenplays Endgame by Samuel Beckett and Black Bird by David Harrower.

Being in Asia -- Body Performance in Contemporary Theater

Co-curated by RAM and Zhang Yuan

Contemporary theater is a constantly evolving concept. Unlike the stage forms of traditional theater, it focuses on exploring all the possibilities between performing arts and the reality. It addresses current social phenomena by adopting various forms and shifting paradigms. As an important feature of contemporary theater, body performance manifests itself in the most primitive way and bypasses language narrative and possible hypocrisy. We try to approach Asia through“body”and explore the relations between Asian cultures through the most essential bodily sensations. For a long time, art and culture of Asian countries look at themselves through the perspective of Western aesthetics and neglect to compare with one another. It is the same case with mainland China; though it is part of Asia, it has little idea of what is going on around it.

We have invited many cutting-edge contemporary theater artists or groups of mainland China and other Asian regions and countries to participate in a dialogue centering on two topics“facing the society" and "cultural gap". These two topics are designed to stimulate the artists to explore Asia, a world once constructed by the West, from different angles. With other Asian regions and countries as reference, we can reflect on the problems and challenges faced by mainland China in recent years and find some lost values and the road map for the future by changing our perspective.

Facing the Society

Discussion under this topic is not confined to social issues. Body and social environment mirror each other. Our body’s role shifts from passively accepting into actively expressing in plural forms. Everyone’s body, small as it is compared with the entire society, can reflect the current social climate. “Body” in contemporary theater does not perform, and it is driven by its instinctive will to express rather than linear logical thinking, making it possible to address the society directly. China and other parts of Asia are isomorphic in terms of social form, but due to different stages of development and different cultures, they also take on different facets. The theater is not only a mirror, but also a message.

Cultural Gap

Viewed by the West, Asian culture has been in a passive and "inferior" position of the other. This bias has never been corrected effectively and Asian countries have neglected the comparison among themselves.

Asia is a concept delineated by the West. Asian cultures look alike at first glance, but by a closer look we will find them different and mixed. Body is culture. How should body address the construction and breakthrough of cultural identity? Can we prevent cultural exchanges from yielding to political and commercial factors and being "superficial" and "politically correct"? We should not simply seek common ground while reserving differences, but also find or create a new culture in the gaps of the cultures.