Happy Holidays! It's been a challenging past year in my artistic life. I'm grateful to have learned a lot by doing much with little, about the importance of friends, networks and the beautiful spirit of mutual support across different fields of the arts community in Singapore.
Producing - and an appeal for support
My biggest leap this past year is as producer for my own work and an international tour. In 2015, I created an interactive performance work with Chilean dancer Gabriela Serani. "Talk to me and I slap you" was supported in residency and premiere by a small theatre festival in Zagreb. It is a high-stakes work where we challenged ourselves to reach into questions about the dynamics of violence, fear and loneliness in relationships. Whether it is the relationship of the performer to the audience, or relationships of love, family or power. We had one packed performance at midnight in a Zagreb bar. The connection with the audience was electric. A critic said we could be “a perfect mirror to the hopeless shortcomings of our present social condition.”
Since then, it has been one and a half years of networking and applications trying to get this work shown in the UK (where we were based together previously) and Asia. Finally, we have a chance to redevelop this work for audiences in Singapore and Bangkok in February 2018. I will be self-producing this work at the Substation on 24-25 February 2018. We have a little support from the Singapore National Arts Council, but this and ticket sales will only cover 25% of our production costs. We have also been invited by Democrazy Theatre Studio in Bangkok - but too late to apply for institutional funding for travel. We are currently $10,000 short of our total tour budget.
Details of our production and fundraising campaign are at the link below. We'd be very grateful for any support in cash or in kind (accommodation, air miles, printing, personnel support etc), or your recommendation of this production and fundraising campaign to your network. I'd like to acknowledge the amazing support and advice that I've received so far from venues, fellow artists and producers in Singapore, Bangkok and Manila.
(If you prefer an alternative channel to online credit card donations, please contact me.)
Following on from my Video Dance residency in the first half of 2017, I've had the immense privilege to be invited to work with the Cinemovement collective, a group of outstanding Singapore filmmakers and choreographers. Through residencies in Macau and Taiwan this year, I have two new short films in the oven. One of them features some gorgeous original music by Melbourne psych-folk band Cold Hands Warm Heart. The films will appear mid next year, resources willing... a fundraising story for another time.
In the meantime my 2017 micro-short ode to the kopitiam "Tea Dances" was featured in the official selections of Danca em Foco (Brazil), the Outlet Dance Project Film Festival (New Jersey) and Greensboro Dance Film Festival (North Carolina). It still hasn't found interest in Singapore, but maybe next year!
(Photo: Epiphyte. Dancer: Jereh Leong. Photo/Cinematography: Looi Wan Ping)
MARK and SIFA
January through August 2017, I was involved as documentarian and online publicist in an ambitious site-specific dance project by Daniel Kok and a cast of nine talented dancers and actors for the Singapore International Festival of the Arts. It was an intellectually juicy and creatively satisfying chance to play as a dancer in a photographic and video documentary capacity. The production photos and video trailers for the production can be viewed on our Facebook page here.
My work with the Working Group for Dancers Advocacy continues. As the year closes we're trying to get more responses for our surveys on the working conditions of dance educators and performers/choreographers to finally get some hard stats on the challenges facing dancers in Singapore. If you are a dancer or know any professional dancers here, we're very grateful if you can spread the word! In 2018 we will be running a series of practical workshops for dancers on essential skills for a sustainable career.
Some writing from this past 6 months
“from: The Platform” by Chowk Productions: A Running Imprint on the Mind
The Easy Trigger of “Guilty Landscapes III”
Here's to a good 2018 and new adventures.