net art, video, performance

Annie Abrahams

Agency Art II

collectively made, refusing hierarchy, a knitting together of artists and performers in the moment of the event, erasure of the artistic ego, practice, changing rules, choices, connecting, accepting the unexpected, responsive, shared, collaboratively authored, open to all, working with temporal behavioral phenomena, healing, enactment, improvised, including environmental conditions, attentional strategies,  instructions, protocols,  apparatus, meeting, embracing the ordinary, rehearsing alternatives, re-hijacking therapy, exercising our relations to others, our social (in)capacities, exploring rituals, being together, participatory,
concerns individuals and politics


Agency Art seems to be a difficult term: too much bad feelings go with the word (NSA) ; too similar sounding to Art Agency, and so it triggers thoughts about commerce. Still I want to persevere. For years I used silently the term “behavioural art” to think about what I was doing – silently yes, because for someone trained in biology “behavioural” is a stained word. It turned out that for others “agency” is just as stained. But for me it’s  an empowering word, referring to Butler, ANT theory and Karen Barad.

Agency Art is beyond disciplines. It’s a point of view, an anchor point from where to think critically about (my) artistic practices.

Let me try, while forgetting temporarily all the theoretical implications, to mention a few projects, I would like to name of Agency Art : Darren O’Donnell‘s social theater works and his book Social Acupuncture which argues for an aesthetics of civic engagement, Miranda July‘s work Somebody, where text messages are delivered by a real person. Félix González-Torres Untitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) a 175 pound-pile of candy, from which visitors are encouraged to take samples, Eduardo Kac’s Darker than Night and Teleporting an Unknown State 1994/96, Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present and 512 hours, where the public became the performing body, Yoko Ono‘s Cut piece, Gego‘s work on networks and space and a lot of Lygia Clark‘s multi-sensory participative work.

gegoretiulareafg-01126-ao-700x372 Gego, Reticulárea. 1981.

To find keywords for Agency Art I choose some specific examples (from fine art, dance, theater, music, performance, digital art and electronic poetry) : Deufert&Plischke’s work, LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner’s HEWILLNOTDIVIDE.US, Building Conversation by Lotte van den Berg, Deep listening by Pauline Oliveros, Poietic Generator by Olivier Auber, Lingua Ignota by Samantha Gorman and Walking Practices by Ienke Kastelein. (more info on each piece at the bottom of this post)

Why didn’t I include a relational aesthetic artists as for instance Rirkit Tiravanija who initiates ways to enable the public to be a part of the art-making process?
Because the public can’t make choices in his work – it is like a staged environment, which needs these people to make it alive, but does not give them any agency – they are not challenged to make choices besides being there or not being there.

Agency Art is art that makes it clear to the receiver via his or her body what is at stake, where opportunities for action lie, and which virtual* behaviours he or she can actualize. It demonstrates how choices work, and how to create patterns that retain their coherence while you remain part of them and transform when you move within their field of action. (* virtual understood as potentiality, not as a quality or in a re-presentable way) Mulder 2012.
(This refers to my first post on Agency Art.)

Agency Art is made of interaction, but should be constructed, looked at with intra-active glasses.
(This refers to a post on inter-intra-action.)

I still need to read a bit on Latour :) before I can write something about the many definitions, different, but related, takes on agency. Gell, Barad, Spinoza, Butler …

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inter – intra – action (fr)

Depuis quelques temps j’essaie de réfléchir sur un nouveau concept: Agency Art, que j’ai découvert dans un texte d’Arjen Mulder de 2012.
J’aime beaucoup cette notion, parce que elle ne prend pas un medium, ou une technologie comme point de départ, mais met en avant ce que celles-ci rendent possible. C’est un art qui s’ancre dans les choix comportementaux, dans les gestes. Son sens est les actions rendus possibles. J’ai écrit un billet qui en parle plus amplement. (en anglais)


Mulder intègre ses idées dans l’histoire. Il remonte vers des penseurs comme Spinoza, Shannon, Wiener, MacKay, McLuhan, Cassirer, Langer, Gell, Latour, Heidegger, Derrida, Badiou, Rancière, Danto, Whitehead, Steiner, Rolnik et encore d’autres.

Dans mes tentatives de mieux comprendre ce que ce concept pourrait apporter à ma propre pratique artistique je lis des entretiens (en anglais) avec Karen Barad une physicienne et féministe américaine qui parle d’un autre concept nouveau pour moi: l’intra-action.
Dans les années 90 du siècle dernier le mot interaction était un mot clef pour analyser mes œuvres en hypertext. Peut être aujourd’hui l’intra-action peut m’aider à mieux réfléchir mes travaux de performance collaborative où il n’est pas vraiment clair ce qui provoque quoi, où se trouve l’agence – ne pas entre les entités clairement distinctes, mais venant de l’intérieur d’un tout, où les conditions du serveur, les ordinateurs individuels, les différents webcams et périphériques sonores, ainsi que les voix et les images des co-performeurs, les conditions d’éclairage locales et les situations familiales sont toutes enchevêtrées dans ce que Barad appellerait un phénomène.

L’intra-action (en opposition à interaction), un néologisme introduit par Barad, représente un profond tournant conceptuel dans les métaphysiques individualistes. Pour Barad, les choses et les objets ne précèdent pas leur interaction, mais plutôt, les « objets émergent à travers des intra-actions particulières ». Source

Ce n’est pas simple du tout de comprendre les idées de Barad. J’étais contente de trouver une vidéo qui semblait l’expliquer simplement et puis je l’ai transcrit et j’ai essayé de traduire ce texte en français. (voir en bas) Tout ça pour me rendre compte que je n’en ai toujours qu’une compréhension superficielle. Ce n’est pas grave. Barad se base sur la théorie quantique et des pensées de Bohr, Butler, Harraway et Foucault. Je leur prendrai des  termes comme phenomenon, agency, apparatus et intra-action. Ils vont ré-apparaître.

Video Written & Created by: Stacey Kerr, Erin Adams, & Beth Pittard

La transcription / traduction du texte de la vidéo: Read the rest of this entry »

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inter – intra – action (Eng)

Interaction was the word I used 20 years ago when I talked about my work in hypertext. Today I need other words: one word, I already wrote about it in my last post, is Agency Art. Another might be Intra-action. I first met it in Mousse magazine #34 (2012), pp.76–81: “Intra-actions” – Interview of Karen Barad by Adam Kleinmann. You can download the interview here.

This word could be usefull to analyze my works of collaborative performance art, as for instance Angry Women, where it is not really clear what is causing what, where the agency is – not between clearly distinguisable entities, but coming from within a whole, where server conditions, individual computers, webcam and sound devices, as well as the voices and images of the co-performers, local light conditions and family situations are all entangled in what Barad would call the phenomenon.
Barad uses quantum physics to articulate a feminist view on the philosophy of science. She builds on Donna Harraway and Niels Bohr. It is not easy to understand her and I was happy to find this video that seemed quit clear.

Video Written & Created by: Stacey Kerr, Erin Adams, & Beth Pittard

But when I transcribed the spoken text, I gathered my understanding might be superficial. Concepts like phenomenon, agency, apparatus all mean something different in different contexts. And when I read in the English wikipedia: “For Barad, things or objects do not precede their interaction, rather, ‘objects’ emerge through particular intra-actions. Thus, apparatuses, which produce phenomena, are not assemblages of humans and nonhumans (as in actor-network theory). Rather, they are the condition of possibility of ‘humans’ and ‘non-humans’, not merely as ideational concepts, but in their materiality.”, I was sure I wasn’t completely getting it (yet) – to be continued.
I feel intra-action will give me a clue on why Agency Art is something not popular in the humanities, in media art etc. (yet).
Here is the transcription of the video:

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Agency Art.


Agency Art is art that makes it clear to the receiver via his or her body what is at stake, where opportunities for action lie, and which virtual behaviours he or she can actualize. It demonstrates how choices work, and how to create patterns that retain their coherence while you remain part of them and transform when you move within their field of action.

I have been reading Arjen Mulder‘s* article THE BEAUTY OF AGENCY ART, and I recommand it strongly. (You can download the article on, read it in the book Vital Beauty, V2_Publishing (2012) or download it here.)

Often, when I talk about my artistic work I tell it’s using behaviour as it’s material and builds on an aesthetic of trust and attention. Sometimes people ask me what I mean by that.

I then tell them that in Being Human / Etant Humain (1997 / 2007) I was more interesting in creating the field, the network of choices in the  html page, than in the multimedia side of it. I told them I saw the works as low-tech mood mutators and interrogations on communication. I didn’t want the work to be immersive. And in my later online performance art projects (Huis Clos / No Exit, Angry Women, besides,, Distant Feeling(s)) I use strict protocols, which strangely leave a lot of freedom to the performers, so we – and they also – can reflect on their behaviour.

Attention and trust are requisites for this to happen and necessities when taking distance of the feelings provoked to appreciate its aesthetics.

Agency Art gives me a new terminology that might help me think these ideas further – I like the word because it doesn’t take any technology or medium as it’s starting point, but puts what these make possible in the foreground. It is art that has behavioural choices, gestures as it’s anchor points. Its meaning is the acts made possible.

The significance of Agency Art is related to a concept called “virtual behavioural space”. This concept is an extension of the concept of “virtual feeling” that Susanne K. Langer in Feeling and Form (1953) introduced. Each individual art medium evokes, manipulates and investigates “virtual feelings” in its own way.
A painting calls forth virtual depth with lines and colours; a sculpture constructs a virtual volume around itself; a novel constitutes virtual memory, tracked through virtual time. Dance follows virtual forces of attraction and repulsion. All the experiences that are part of this “feeling” are spaces of possibility, virtual feelings waiting for actualization; their nature, allurements and dangers must be studied, and art is where this investigation takes place.

Why no-one else took to using Agency Art? Mulder embeds his ideas in history, goes back to thinkers as Shannon, Wiener, MacKay, McLuhan, Cassirer, Langer, Gell, Latour, Heidegger, Derrida, Badiou, Rancière, Danto, Whitehead, Steiner, Rolnik and others.
Maybe because his writing was too diffracted at the moment of publishing?

Diffraction is meant to disrupt linear and fixed causalities, and to work toward ‘‘more promising interference patterns’’. This can be practiced by reading texts through one another, and rewriting. It disrupts the temporality of a piece of writing, transverses boundaries such as discipline, and can change meanings in different contexts opening up meaning. Iris van der Tuin on

More on diffractive reading and writing in Matter feels, converses, suffers, desires, yearns and remembersan Interview with Karen Barad by Rick Dolphijn and Iris van der Tuin (2009).

*Already in 2005 I read Understanding Media Theory (2004) a book by Mulder (also available on I was influenced by his thoughts. Ik heb ook zijn boek De vrouw voor wie Cesare Pavese zelfmoord pleegde (2004) gelezen. Ik ben ook een fan van Pavese.*

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if not(you&me)=>(void)

deepbeliefnetwork(Deep Belief Network – Image

Jeudi 6 octobre 2016 16h.
Présentation Performance
if not(you&me)=>(void)
Muriel Piqué & Annie Abrahams

Colloque international
Narrativité & Intermédialité
Une initiative du RIRRA 21, Université Paul Valéry Montpellier – Université  Justus Liebig Giessen.
Salle des colloques 1 – Saint-Charles, Montpellier.

L’internet rend l’information disponible sous différentes formes partout et à tout moment. L’intermédialité a pénétré la vie de tous les jours. Nous ne pensons plus seulement avec les mots, mais aussi avec l’image, le son, le corps. Le récit ne se joue plus seulement dans une intertextualité mais se construit dans l’entre, présent ou absent, composé ou recomposé par les performeurs(ses) et/ou les publics.

“Penser le commun en tant que relation, plutôt que comme espace d’externalités; le penser en termes d’intra-activité. Ne plus considérer les individus comme constitués dès le départ et indépendamment du commun. Individus et commun sont des agencements de relations, des intensifications ou pertes de vitesse relationnelles.” D’après Ontologie relationnelle et pensée du commun de Cléo Collomb.

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Tableaux vivants – I can’t do it alone



31/08 2016
18h. – 21h. Tableaux vivants – I can’t do it alone
An interactive participative networked installation
A construction of tableaux vivants, of images more or less alive.
and an Artist Talk,
Kulturni Dom Šempas, Šempas 29, 5261 Šempas.

In the frame of a R.o.R. residency with BridA.
Supported by: Mestna občina Nova Gorica
With special thanks to Krajevna skupnost Šempas

In the installation using three networked computers, two webcams, a projector and simple daily life objects like vegetables, plants, toys, colloured fabrics, sponges and their own bodies people can create images together. A third person will decide on what to capture of this co-creation. Together they will discuss and decide what images among all those captured will be interesting enough to be archived and entered in the Tableaux Vivants collection.

… / (1) a time to explain – starting with a fixed image: a composition / (2) a time of action – the moving image captured in stills by someone of the public – ending with a fixed image / (3) a time to select among the screen captures – a time to discuss / …

co-creating, discussing aesthetics, humans can be objects too

Text en Slovène, Photo’s, screencaptures on flickr
.pdf with preparation instructions



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Positive Awkwardness ?


When watching Avatar as Prosthesis 1; an interview Gretta Louw did with the online therapist and trainer Kate Anthony from the Online Therapy Institute in Second Life, I was fascinated by the relation between the two avatars.

So odd to listen to a very interesting conversation on the potential and strength of using avatars in psychological treatment while watching two lady avatars completely absorbed in their own being, voicing thoughts in a conversation not looking at each other, giving the impression of being shy, occasionally blinking their eyes as if wanting to catch another gaze…

Gretta and Kate talked about how “being in the virtual, not being face-to-face” makes communication free-er (this is called the disinhibition effect*) and how the Institute uses this in their therapies.
Would the virtual be so strongly connected to the “real” person that the face-to-face even has to be avoided in the virtual. Is this why they never look at each other? or is it programmed into Second Life as a special female property?

They also talk about the rubber hand illusion, the avatar as an extension and/or a prosthesis and the wheelchair avatar as a virtual activist.
If the avatar is a prosthesis, what is it a prothesis for?
I asked Gretta in an email.

*The Online disinhibition effect is a loosening or complete abandonment of social restrictions and inhibitions that would otherwise be present in normal face-to-face interaction during interactions with others on the Internet. This effect is caused by many factors, including dissociative anonymity, invisibility, asynchronicity, solipsistic introjection, dissociative imagination, and minimization of authority.

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Politics of Performance and Play


Thursday July 7 2016  14h15.
Lipsius 019,
Cleveringaplaats 1,

Besides, subjectivity is no longer a privileged site for emancipation
Networked performance
Annie Abrahams and Martina Ruhsam

In the frame of The Politics of Performance and Play. Feminist Matters conference, Institute of Philosophy, University of Leiden.
Panel: Performance, Agency and the Posthuman.
Conference programme

‘…if we really engage in storytelling as a sym-poietic practice, which is propositional and invitational, then we have a chance for re-worlding. Play always involves the invitation that asks ‘are we a “we”’? A “we” that does not pre-exist the propositional risk and testing.’
(Donna Haraway, 2015)

Martina Ruhsam and Annie Abrahams started the  performance series besides, – on Object Agency in June 2015.
This will be the 5th performance in this series.

“We perform experimenting thinking together using words and things and the affects transferred via our voices. We experiment performing thinking together, We think performing experiments together, We experiment thinking performance, We experiment performing thought together using words and things and the affects transferred via our voices…”

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wishes / voeux – hypertext now


Yesterday Oliwia Blawat included my piece wishes / voeux from 1999 in her space for hypertext based art. (thanks Oliwia)
She writes on her research :  In my opinion hypertext is a complex structure built from nodes connected by hyperlinks that can be both textual and visual.It is a basic element of www and also of net art works (but not all of them). Hypertext consists in multiple number of links, it is only a framework that can exist both with data and without. The biggest problem of hypertext is that in the presence of complicated structure the content becomes less important and sometimes hypertext is difficult to read because the frame takes over data.


“The frame takes over the data?” and content becomes less important? Maybe that’s the way you can look at it now but at the time all was data, and all was content. It was often exactly the way content and form intertwined that made a lot of us interested in creating hypertext. (I remember for instance having the impression that I could finally experiment with representing “thought”.)
Also in new browsers some content became simply invisible  : onmouseover=”self.status=’to start over again without continually facing the humiliations of prejudice’; return true”,  ‘popups’ are often not allowed and hypertext on cellphones simply isn’t ergonomic. It’s not the same anymore. In 1999 we thought about human beings on the other side of the network, now we think in terms of information, likes and data flows.

In Dec. 2009 in Artistic Textual and Performative Paths in New Media Correlations: An Interview with Annie Abrahams by Evelin Stermitz, published in Hz #14, I talked about my first experiment in collectif writing like this :

 This first collective writing project was a collection of wishes, that I proposed to “stocker, déposer, entreposer, deposit, lodge, gardienage, mise en forme, entretien, surveillance, keeping, conservation, maintenance, caring, storage, stock, shaping”. Some of these wishes were chosen to be html-ized either by me or by other volunteering net artists like [anachroma], Takuji Kogo, Tiia Johannson, Christophe Desgouttes, Elise Lefevre, Ted Warnel, Mildred Pierce or Tamara Lai. As html-izing at the time was writing code, this htm-lizing was the second writing layer of the project. A third existed in the possibility to write a personal email, unseen by the others, to an unknown wishing person.

Detail of the complete collection of wishes / voeux, presented as a digital print 148cm x 148 cm in Training for a Better World, exposition CRAC LR, Sète. 28/10/2011 – 01/01/2012.

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Displaced – a conversation with Soyung Lee

148_sy-sequence-chi02Displaced by Soyung Lee is the documentation of a performance on the subject of dubbing different languages to explore the concept of social identities. I don’t really understand yet why it touches me so much – of course because it points to communities of people of different backgrounds, different languages, doing things together (Cantonese, English, Mandarin, and Tagalog) – it points to a place where English is not dominant.
Also because it’s made by amateurs and professionals, because it has a beautiful text at its base and because it talks about a very actual condition – the displacement – in a way we can all feel – because it unites me with them, with exiles, refugees, – and because it’s performance, cinema and theater all at once, it’s hybrid.

After having written a short entrance about the project on my e-stranger blog, I wrote Soyung an email with some questions. It was very interesting to read more about the background of her project and so I asked her if I could publish a slightly edited version of our exchange here.

AA: You announce the video on your website as documentation of a performance, but you edited the footing, so, in my opinion it became a video on its own – how do you see this?
SL: Yes, though it was a live performance, I wanted it, from the beginning when I was still planning the project, to also function as a video piece. Hence, I discussed how to document it with the cameraman, Benny, and we edited the multi-camera shots together. The length of the performance didn’t change much – the whole performance was about 11 to 12 min including short pauses between the scenes. I also thought about shooting the whole thing as a video series instead of a performance series, in which case, I could have controlled the details better by reshooting. But in the end, I preferred to try live dubbing when the performers speak in front of the audience.
For this piece, I didn’t change or edit too much since I wanted to keep the original flow of the performance. Usually, I take a much longer time editing and changing the order and playing with the rhythm when it’s video.

AA: Was the performance done in front of a public? As in theater? Is it something you would repeat?
SL: It was done in Cattle Depot Artist Village in Hong Kong in front of about 40-50 people. This site is a former cattle slaughter and under the care of the HK government. The residency (Videotage Fuse Residency) office was inside the village, and the first day I visited, I loved the backdrop of this setting.
I would like to repeat this performance, possibly in a theater, but with some changes in the script since this one is particularly related to Hong Kong’s current situations (see a bit further in this exchange), possibly in another country with diverse cultural codes.

AA: The numbers with the music, cuts up the performance in parts, makes it existing out of different scenes and so the result gets something from theater or cinema too – was there an equivalent in the performance or was the performance one event and did you change, edit it like this it later?
SL: I continue to experiment on how to incorporate or put layers that relate to cinema, theater, and performance in a single piece.
I’m interested in mixing professionals and non-professionals (usually migrant workers or minority groups) for I want the social misfits to be performers (not subjects) in my work.

AA: And why numbers?
SL: It might have been one of the easiest choices, I think now.  The script was written in 7 scenes. I do however think that I could have maybe used dates or other time breaks in between the scenes. Something to consider for the next piece.

AA: Why did you choose these particular languages? Because that’s what the performers spoke? And – did they all understand the four languages?
SL: I used Cantonese (that’s what the male actor, Donald, spoke) because it’s the main language Hong Kong people use. They are under the heavy pressure from China to use Mandarin in schools, so, people are afraid to lose Cantonese. The Filipino ladies – Marita, Merz, and Ever – who are domestic helpers in HK spoke Tagalog which is the most largely used language in the Philippines. The Hong Kong  actress, Cha, spoke Mandarin for some of the lines as she also speaks Mandarin reflecting HK’s current language shift from Cantonese and English to Mandarin. The Canadian performer, Kristy lives already for eight years in Hong Kong and works in Hong Kong Disneyland performing as Disney characters (usually princesses). Though she’s more interested in doing non-commercial performances, because of her visa. I very much enjoyed collaborating with all of them.
They didn’t understand all four languages and neither did I. All the meetings and workshops were held in English. I also discovered that written Cantonese and spoken Cantonese are quite different, so the subtitles and the spoken Cantonese were two different versions of translation.

AA: I adore your text, it’s strangeness, “directness”, emotion, humanity – just very curious – How, when did you write it? Do you write more? Can I find something more …
SL: Thank you. My residency period lasted about 2 and a half month, and I wrote the script after a month of researching in Hong Kong. There are about 320,000 domestic workers in Hong Kong (around 3 percent of Hong Kong’s population in 2013, according to South China Morning Post). Filipinos are the largest number reported to be the 50 percent of them. On the weekends, when they’re off work, they are out in parks and near subway stations because they need to be (or like to be) out of the houses when the families stay together. These ladies take care of the babies, house chores, and sometimes teach English to young kids. I also went to some interesting places in Hong Kong, such as horse races where majority of the crowd watching games seemed to be 50 and above white male and a couple of small islands where the local natives and foreigners live together. All of these scenes registered in mind before I started writing.
Korea is a developed country especially in terms of technology and fast wiring system of the Internet, but we are not quite multi-cultured. Most people speak Korean only, and though there are foreigners and migrant workers, they are not strongly recognizable as a part of Korean culture yet. Similarly, in Korea, people understand the concept of minority but most people don’t seem to capture how it feels to be a minority.
In such cities as Hong Kong, there are more layers in culture and languages, and that inspired me to write this piece.(1)
I also wanted to adapt a few lines from internationally popular novels and plays originally written in Chinese, Russian, and English. (2)
For other writings, I do write usually related to my video pieces or to the research projects. The last script I’ve written for the piece, “Fortress,” was more abstractly written in the very beginning with blank spaces for the actors to fill in. After several meetings and workshops, I added more lines and guidelines but still, the scenes that each actor talked about the idea of dream home and death are filmed with their improvised lines. A few of my colleagues, to whom I sent the original text, liked the first draft of the script, but I wanted to have the actors tell their own concept of “home” in their style of talking.

AA: Could you have made this piece before the internet area, before we all got connected by technology?
SL: I think, since you’ve asked this question, I started realizing how the Internet might have influenced making this piece because before this new era of viewing so much contents of media by streaming or downloading via youtube, vimeo, etc, translating languages and discovering media contents were much slower, and the multi-culture or multi-languages didn’t seem to happen simultaneously. Nowadays, we seem to be more okay with hearing different languages and became familiar with sounds of different languages other than our own or English(or Latin based languages). At the same time, an older media technique which is still quite commonly used such as dubbing technique became more intriguing for me in a sense why and how we can still use it as well as how we can distort such techniques for provoking different kinds discussions as what’s hidden in cracks and pausing moments.

(1) AA: I have a very personal question : Why are you so interested in the exile, the minority? Are you part of one?
SL: I went to the US when I was 14 and lived there for about 10 years as a minority. That was a big jump from a relatively comfortable identity to a very conflicted and confused one. I also had conversations with my Korean-American cousins and other minority friends about being misfits in communities. Then, I lived in London for about 6 months and returned to Korea. When I returned to where I once believed home, there were some other uneasiness in culture that I encountered. Spending a couple of years doing a research-based project on Korean diasporas in Central Asia also made me think a lot about resettlement. Though there are disturbing experiences and conflicts I sometimes include or mention in the work, my direction is towards the possibilities in migration and resettlement in the history of diasporas. The possibilities of sewing the conflicting identities together interest me and inspire some of the projects I’ve been working on and plan to produce.

(2) AA: In your text I only recognized Gertrud Stein and maybe something Shakespearean. The phrase of “the children never having eaten men” struck me as a citation too, but ….
SL: The plays and novels I used for the texts are: Romeo and Juliet  by William Shakespeare, Diary of a Madman by Nikolai V. Gogol, and A Madman’s Diary by Lu Xun.

Scene 3:
“Deny thy father and refuse thy name; or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, and I’ll no longer be a (Ponce)(3). ’Tis but thy name that is my enemy; thou art thyself, though not a (Chun)(3). What’s (Chun)(3)? It is nor hand, nor foot, nor arm, nor face, nor any other part belonging to a man. O, be some other name!”
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet… doff thy name, and for that name which is no part of thee Take all myself.”
(Quoted from: Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, Act II Scene II)
Scene 4:
“I have discovered that China and Spain are really one and the same country, and it’s only ignorance that leads people to think that they’re two different nations. If you don’t believe me, then try and write ‘Spain’ and you’ll end up writing ‘China’.”
(Quoted from: Diary of a Madman by Nikolai V. Gogol, p.193 in Madrid, 30th Februarius)
Scene 6:
“Perhaps there are still children who have not eaten men?”
“Save the children…”
Quoted from: A Madman’s Diary by Lu Xun)

I adapted from the writers who are internationally popular in literature and theatre and from the countries that are largely influential to Asian culture, so some people (especially from the theatre background) can acknowledge them. The universality and adaptability of the performance was also important when I wrote the script.
The balcony scene of the Romeo and Juliet was adapted because I had an interesting discussion with some Hong Kong friends and the Canadian performer, Kristy, about the names in Hong Kong. Since Hong Kong used to be a British colony, most people have English names. Some of them are typical or old English names, but some of the names are direct and unique such as “Emotion, Dream,” etc. Now the young generations in HK are fighting for democracy against pro-China government, and as a foreigner, the complexity of their culture even in the names seemed very interesting.

(3) AA: What is in the names Chun and Ponce that is interesting to you, what do they mean?
SL: I wanted to use one of the most popular Chinese or Cantonese last names, and Chun was one of them. Ponce is the last name of Merz, one of the Filipino performers, who starts dubbing the first line of the balcony scene.

AA: Thank you so much Soyung for this generous and insightful conversation.

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* 19/03 2017 Presentation in Avant-garde, theatre and everything else, Łódź, Poland. Invitation Ryszard W. Kluszczynski.
* 21-24/03 2017 Workshop Performance en réseau, 23/03 18h. Conférence Agency Art, CNAC, Châlons-en-Champagne.
* 18/06 2017 11h. Talk Networked performance art and engagement, Internet, Arte y Compromiso, Centre Culturel Puertas de Castilla (Murcia).
* 19/06 2017 19h. Une pratique du texte numérique qui dévoile. Invitation Yan Rucar, Centre culturel international de Cerisy-la-Salle.
* 18-22/07 Performance Ours Lingages, ELO 2017, University Fernando Pessoa, Porto.

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unaussprechbarlich 2016

unaussprechbarlich 2016

unaussprechbarlich 2016

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Annie Abrahams
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