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

【HUGO BOSS ASIA ART 2015】RAM Performance | Being in Asia: Human and Object in Activation

Venue: 2F Y.W.C.A Building
Moderator: Zhang Yuan
Performer: Dai Chenlian, Jeong Geumhyung
Language:Korean with Chinese translation

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About performance

Oil Pressure Vibrator, 60mins, Geumhyung Jeong (Korea)
Geumhyung Jeong tells us of the pursuit of the subject of her desire in the form of an extremely unique lecture that becomes a meta-performance of her existing work. While explaining her affair with an excavator, she talks about her past, and things become ambiguous whether the artist is introducing her piece or if we are hearing the confessions of the character inside the story. A fuzzy, puzzling and interesting performance unfolds on stage.

The Second Showing of “Beautiful Mistake”, 30 ', Dai Chenlian (China)
This performance will decompose and juxtapose the elements of previous theatrical works to present the thinking process of the two showings. The performing formats are similar but their effects are unexpectedly different. And in the performance, objects become independent units. The body is treated as an object to connect thinking, the forming time of the linking object and other objects; running speed and the length of the videos; identity and the body of the narrator; the body fails as syntax to effectively link the individual body, theater and the society.

About the Artists

Geumhyung Jeong is a choreographer and performer. In her work, she constantly negotiates the relationship between the human body and the things surrounding it. Jeong explores the potential of the body - its sensuality, power to change its surroundings, and ability to undergo transformations through the power of desire. Her projects combine dance and puppetry, and bring attention to technical aspects of theatre.

Dai Chenlian, born in 1982 in Shaoxing City, Zhejiang Province and graduated from the China Academy of Fine Arts, is the first among Chinese contemporary artists to try to combine theatrical concepts with videos. He applied media tools in his creation to reflect the world of publicity and public influence which prizes technical regulations and media.

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 Yu
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.