i began dabbling in web design by working on my own site (through various designs) since 2016. over feb~mar 2020 i was contracted to prepare and produce an online zine resource as part of The Future of our Pasts (TFOOP) Festival (2019-2020). from scratch and with raw materials from the festival programming (that i was involved in organising) i edited, designed, coded pastpresentprospectus. the result is a sprawling rhizomatic approach to web interface and archive-sharing where viewers can choose which primary source they want to zoom in on to take a closer look.
over summer 2015 when i was living in taichung, taiwan for about 3 months before college, i was accepted as a student of tarot from a respectable teacher (大雄老師) and have passed an aptitude test to become a qualified reader. i have been doing readings since through personal contacts and will only read if there is a serious sincere question. more recently i read for the artists-in-residence from Live Creatives Show (LCS) in jan 2020 as part of the Singapore Biennale.
i began nude modelling for life drawing sessions in summer 2019.
theatre design (lighting, set)
i always design the sets and lighting for my own performances or exhibitions. in sep 2017, i was the lighting and multimedia designer for an intimate production of 4.48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane. to retain the intimacy and privacy of such a sensitive text and performance without compromising on visibility, i used an old tv (with moving images), a table lamp and a make-shift lightbulb.
art naming 奇能 begins with semi autobiographical intimate performance works the personal made public political often times participatory and interprets them into other media such as installation or video to deal with and transform the live event documentation problem and always from the bodily repeating gestures like catching tofu thrown, picking things up with my foot or holding isolated still when moving on an empty rooftop in a framed video then concerned with the tension between the temporal and the lasting the intangible and the material time a major theme but more importantly how we deal with its slippage and the fact that this existence will end
i am art naming 奇能. as of aug 2020, i associate myself with the performing arts and visual arts world. i use my body and its personalities as material to make work, and while i used to present work exclusively in a live setting, i have over the past 3 years began to make, interpret, document performances in different formats: through visual installations, through writing, through video.
between may 2018 and apr 2019 i produced a physical book-like document I AM HERE FOR YOU, a series of 8 action-based durational performances documented and interpreted into text and still images. in it i employed various writing styles and perspectives in hopes of “recreating” the live performance event for the reader as well as offer a deeper view into how my own life could relate with performance art. for instance i included a stream-of-conscious style reflection about what it felt to perform and connected that to personal letters of apology with closed ones then brought in art criticism about my own creative practice. i learnt from this endeavour that documentation in any form is itself an art/creation and requires its own set of proficiencies and creativities.
in jan 2020, i was offered the chance to go to Solo, Indonesia with Cinemovement and Studio Plesungan (Melati Suryodarmo) on a short dance-film lab. there, i collaborated with others to make PICKING SOLO WITH MY RIGHT FOOT, a performance in video of my (impossible) attempts to use my right foot (i also worked with a local dancer’s) to pick up the ground, the water and the essence of what felt like my experience there.
then i went to Taichung, Taiwan and began integrating movement and video in my moving in 台中 (taichung, taiwan). this is a series of movement films or small windows into how i negotiated with being/living with my friends, then on my own, in a foreign place as the COVID-19 spread began to worsen elsewhere. somehow, quite fittingly, they exude a strong feeling of isolation and anxiety.
most recently, i presented as part of a month-long residency: 豆腐的時間 THE TIME OF TOFU. this was a participatory performance where i invited the audience to throw tofu (that i spent a lot of time to make myself) at me while i tried to catch them as an allegory for trying to catch time. for this piece i wanted to discuss our differing experiences with time but also to experiment with creating live experiences that left visible marks/installations/sculptures after the action. in this case it was the tofu left on the wall/ground as well as its souring smell.
while all this sounds merely like a formal (as in material-based form) research, i believe the matter and heart of my works exist hand in hand with their forms. thematically, they (un)cover issues of ever-changing relationships in my tofu piece, a feeling of existing in a limbo state in my Taiwan movement films, or the impossibility of picking up the essence of a place in my Solo foot video. perhaps it is this combination, along with how the works address the viewer directly, or invite their participation, that come to create personal experiences described as challenging and engrossing.
underpinning all my work is still a preoccupation with repetition in physicality and experience, be it in the form of a hand to invite continuous tofu throwing, or to spit into a bottle passed around by 30 people, or my foot repeatedly picking up objects from the ground, or climbing and holding onto poles in a public space. i believe by presenting movement repetition or an enduring image, viewers can start to create layers of meaning and feeling intimately for themselves.
i want to continue my research and practice into interpreting and integrating performance work with other media, not just for documentation but for creating works that continually mould and sculpt our understanding of how the ephemeral can live with the tangible. for now, i am interested in the video form and how the material tangible but ephemeral (performance, body) and the immaterial intangible but lasting (video, virtual) interact.
thinking about performance and documentation again i realised actually so much of my work has become more about the ways we document our life or the ephemeral instead of just doing performances. im thinking these days about tofu-making the whole start to finish the possibility of growing soy beans making soy milk from them making tofu from them then eating or decomposing the waste for growing the soy beans, etc cycle. not much surrounds my “artistic” practice now, more about resetting a living i can live with again.
my interest in performance in movement in a mediated video format (since mid 2019) strangely coincided with the flux of digital content because of the social distancing induced by the pandemic in 2020. beyond recent physical distancing, i had been distancing myself ideologically/financially from capitalist/gatekeeping habits/ventures/platforms such as working full time in office or presenting work in a gallery exhibition and instead compelled myself to geographical displacement (deciding to position myself in taiwan since jan 2020 without a “plan”). i think these living changes manifest in my current movement films where i meander alone in isolated spaces, as if trapped in some limbo, in part documenting my embodied-emotional space, in part documenting my temporal living space. i found i am still interested in my ever-expanding concern with the notions of endurance in how my body endures against my surroundings, in how/if a live performance can endure as is or through translation into a more enduring media: in sculpture, in booklike documents. then, existential questions like why do we endure? how long can we endure? should we endure?
art naming 奇能 begins work from the realm of performance (art) in the rhythms and underlying reasons for daily lived endurance and durational situations be they physical or emotional or any (i.e. why do we endure certain events or emotions? how long can we endure? should we?). while much of my performance work is about endurance, the experience of the work is also about endurance and more importantly the choices we make surrounding endurance. the audience might witness a repetitive durational action, participate in an emotionally taxing activity, be implicated into an undesirable situation, or choose to walk away. i am aware that while we all possess certain agencies, there are inherent complicated power dynamics in participating in my work and i always try to and am still learning how to be responsible with the power and time and emotional presences accorded me. recently i am exploring live performance/movement in a video format as well as booklike objects.
art naming begins work from the realm of performance (art) in the rhythms and underlying reasons for endurance and duration be they physical or emotional or any (i.e. why do we endure certain events or emotions? how long can we endure? should we?). i believe performance intersects intuitively with our daily living behaviours and responses- there is a very fine line between embodied performance and lived reality. my work is process driven and the eventual "result" (when and if it is presented in the face of an audience, does not mean it is "finished") can differ vastly in form from its starting point though the essence is mostly intact. recently i am exploring live performance/movement in a video format as well as making small visual zines.
i am a graduate from Yale-NUS, Singapore. in alignment with the liberal arts sensibilities, my practice spans different disciplines and mediums often in the same work though they begin mostly through a performance lens (i have some background in experimental and movement performances). some artistic and existential concepts i am interested in are: the physical/mental/emotional endurance in relation to duration and pain or suffering (self-induced or otherwise), the performative nature of our existence and the perennial hankering for “Truth,” the existence of multiple selfs or the autobiographical in art, the translation between different disciplines and mediums, the practice of care within (perceived) violent confrontations. i have aphantasia and am learning how to be funny.