Thinking Herself Back: The body is a living archive according to Angeline Young, the artist who created and performed the piece. It told an evocative and striking story of displacement, struggle and migration. There were many Chinese elements in the performance to create the context of Chinese Civil War, for example, the Taoist rituals and her traditional Chinese costumes. But most importantly, the story was spoken out of her mouth while she was dancing. As an audience, it was like living through the real history, a part of history that was inscribed in the performer’s body and unleashed through a combination of “oral history, kinesthetic transmission, and ritual practice”, rather than listening to a story. With the audience being largely involved, this form of performance reminded me of the Sleep No More show that I watched in New York City. It forged a deep connection between the performer and the audience as they suddenly became witnesses of her family’s past. In my opinion, the piece meant to express her indignation for the displacement of her family and her sympathy for the huge amount of refugees who were still suffering today.
Reaching for my father beyond the bamboo curtain: This piece struck me as an auditory tour de force. I really enjoyed the soft tinkling of the bamboo chimes and the rustling of bamboo leaves being rolled over by a piece of bamboo bark. The crystallised sounds created a virtual space where she began with the narrative of her father’s absence in her life. The digital soundtrack seemed to be out of place but effective in delivering the message. “The number you are dialling is not available.” As an audience, I was intrigued throughout the six minute excerpt. Through “movement, film imagery and sound”, I could feel the space and time that the performer was trying to depict, where “memory, longing, distance, and absence may or may not reside. “
Question for the artist: What is the role of the audience in these two films?
In the first dance video, I explored the robotic concept. I tried to express a feeling of constraint and suppression. (The small room feeling in my first dream)
In the second video, I used more flowish, big and continuous movements like waving to express the big room feeling.