Tuesday – Saturday, 12-5pm, Evann Siebens in residence
Wednesday, April 6, 7pm talk by Hong Kong Exile
Friday, April 8, 1pm, reading hour
Saturday, April 9, 5pm, workshop by Hong Kong Exile
10pm Sask Social hosted by Deanna Peters
Hong Kong Exile had a great time guest lecturing this afternoon at SFU for Ben Unterman's IAT 206 MEDIA ACROSS CULTURES class about race, language, and cultural politics.
Here's some of what Natalie said about her practice:
We live in a world that remains deeply colonized and wrought with overt and covert racism. It is imbedded in pop culture, in politics, in the media, in the comments of our Facebook feed, in how we use language, in our food production, in our education, in our assumptions about the people sitting beside us on the bus and in this room. The institutions, apparatuses, and aesthetic traditions of the arts are no different. It took me a long time to realize that what I studied throughout my four/five years of the dance program at SFU, was mostly white contemporary dance, and that the dance history and art theory I learned was white history and theory. Because of this, my practice as an artist post-graduation has largely been a practice, rather, a slow attempt at decolonizing my mind, body, and training— and asking, how can the context of performance subvert or dismantle the present paradigm? As an artist, I have the privilege of being given a public space to be heard and seen. With this space, it matters to me that I am NOT blindly re-affirming hegemonic Western-centric hierarchical traditions of dance and instead offer or make space for other narratives, other possibilities.
As both an artist and a human, it is important to me to be critical of who's voices are being given platforms to be heard, and who's aren't. And despite my personal and professional commitment to these questions, issues of tokenism, cultural appropriation, self-exotification, and privilege are ever looming….so the work is really never done...
Many thanks to Ben Unterman for having us!
Today, Centre A and Hong Kong Exile hosted the Vancouver launch of "Add Oil Machine 打氣機," an online exhibition about the Hong Kong Umbrella movement (2014) and the revolutionary potential of language and collective enunciation. Organized by Slought Foundation in collaboration with the Add Oil Team, this virtual exhibition seeks to spread awareness about the power of individual and collective assemblage and the formation of community and solidarity through art. In commemoration of the final days of protests one year earlier, the project will launch online on December 10, 2015, raising questions about archivization and historicization, and how institutions record and display protest movements and cultural resistance. Here, in Vancouver, Canada, we will be presenting it in the form of an outdoor projection and installation.
The title of the exhibition is derived from "Stand By You: Add Oil Machine 並肩上: 打氣機" a spontaneous four-month project by artists Sampson Wong (黃宇軒), Jason Lam (林志輝) and friends that strategically projected political writing on key government buildings in Hong Kong. Together with over 100,000 other protestors, they sought to protest recent electoral reforms by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China and campaign for universal suffrage. Their projection system operated at the intersection of public culture, activism, and urbanism, and re-visualized the symbolic authority of civic sites. Mimicking the dominant tendency to wrap buildings in advertising, they projected more than 40,000 short messages of local support and international solidarity, catalyzing a vast protest site under intense global attention.
In response to the protester's demands, the Hong Kong government and the Chinese Communist Party strengthened its control of media and educational institutions and escalated its harassment of students, scholars and protesters, quietly subduing oppositional voices and language through administrative and bureaucratic protocols. "Stand By You: Add Oil Machine 並肩上: 打氣機" can be understood as a linguistic form of resistance to this power and process. In Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature (1975), philosophers Gille Deleuze and Félix Guattari introduce the term "minor literature" to describe the relationship between language and power, and the possibility of subversive forms of enunciation that contest domination. Recognizing the way in which the political domains co-opts both individual and societal consciousness, they recognize the potential of language and literature to express and imagine other possibilities. Minor literature builds upon the relationship between the individual and their political immediacy, and encourages new forms of solidarity and collective enunciation.
To what degree can the concept of minor literature be translated across languages, cultures, and places? "Stand By You: Add Oil Machine 並肩上: 打氣機" provides us with an opportunity to explore its applicability to the language of protest, and in particular protest in minor Chinese languages. A majority of the messages of solidarity were written in t廣東話 Cantonese, the primary language in Hong Kong yet one that is secondary to 普通話 Mandarin, the standardized Chinese dialect spoken in Mainland China, Taiwan and Singapore. Cantonese people are often compelled to explain themselves in Mandarin to be understood in Mainland China and other parts of Asia, such that using Cantonese in everyday life is an affirmation of one's minoritarian cultural identity and sense of community. This project thus invites us to interrogate the politics of and relationship between Cantonese and Mandarin. Here political messages in Cantonese, a minor language, are being projected onto governmental sites of power whose association with Mandarin and Mainland China is precisely what is being contested.
Curated by Melissa Lee and Aaron Levy
Stand by You: Add Oil Machine for the Umbrella Movement is a work of the Add Oil Team. The Add Oil Team are Sampson Wong (黃宇軒), Jason Lam (林志輝) and their friends.
Friends who were involved in Stand by You included but were not limited to Candy Chu, Kitty Ho, Chris Cheung Hon Him, Jeff Wong, Kwan Kai Yin, Karen Shing.
Congratulations to Paul Lucas, Megan Friesen, Mona Lai, Alanna Ho, Tegan Wahlgren, Frances Margaret Walker Breden, Andie Marie Lloyd, and Tiana Jung on their pieces -- you were such a pleasure to work with and we look forward to collaborating again sometime!
Photo credit: Alanna Ho & Frances Margaret Walker Breden
13 Vancouver arts companies + 13 short (1-10 minute) plays on Climate Change by playwrights around the world.
Milton Lim will be directing Daniel Borzillo in Neil LaBute's An Average Guy Thinking Thoughts About Global Warming.
Huge thanks to our friend Ulla Laidlaw for directing a little excerpt of Natalie choreographing 'Nine Doesn't Follow Eight' at the Gateway Theatre during its workshop showing at the Gateway Theatre Pacific Festival 加藝太平洋戲劇節. The clip is part of a CBC Arts show called 'Exhibitionists'.
CBC Arts: Exhibitionists Episode 5
We're currently in rehearsal process making the full-length version/sequel to NINEEIGHT at the Gateway Theatre for the upcoming Pacific Theatre Festival on September 11th and 12th. More details to come soon.
Next week, we will be bringing a 15 minute excerpt of NINEEIGHT to the Scotiabank Dance Centre for a free showcase at the Western Arts Alliance Conference. It's a large event where arts presenters from across North America congregate; this year it's being held in Vancouver.
More details can be found on the Western Arts Alliance website. Come join us if you can!
This coming weekend at the Gateway Theatre, there will be two exciting readings of works by two celebrated North American playwrights.
If you were interested in our 越界/粵界 (transgression/cantosphere) installation earlier this year at Centre A, Lauren's play traces similar ground in her own exploration of San Fransisco's Chinatown and her relationship to the Yee Fung Toy Society. In addition, Milton will be performing, along with the amazing talents of Christine Lee, David Yee, Andrea Yu, Jovanni Sy.
More details on the event page: A Yee-kend at Gateway
Many thanks to Donna, Caitlin, Sammie, Alex, Heidi, James, Jamie, and the rest of the team at the Firehall Arts Centre for programming NINEEIGHT at this years Dancing on the Edge Festival. We've received amazing response to the piece and we're really amped to start working on the full-length at the end of August! Make sure to see more of the other shows if you can, there's quite the lineup this year!
In other news, a review from our Seattle performances just arrived:
Vancouver-based company Hong Kong Exile presented something entirely different that lives, perhaps, within its own realm of creativity. NINEEIGHT was a memorable, haunting, and utterly disturbing visual experience–in both its choreographic intensity and unrefined social relevance. The dancers shifted between shaky spasms, pedestrian movement, blood-curdling screams, choruses of “yeah!”, posing, stumbling, and a particularly disquieting sequence of mimed stabbing which lasted far longer than was comfortable. NINEEIGHT, which spoke distinctly to the Hong Kong-Mainland conflict, was performance art with a life of its own and one that ought to be applauded for its honesty, depth, and surreal tension. Beautifully performed and unforgettably unsettling (especially to those who may watch with less context), Hong Kong Exile’s presentation was an exciting contribution to this year’s festival and an exciting work in the international field.
- Miranda Chantelois [SeattleDances.com]
Tomorrow, we open 'NINEEIGHT' at Dancing on the Edge along with three other pieces by local choreographers!
We're very excited to be bringing our show back to Vancouver after recent travels to Seattle and Toronto. Heads up, that this is the final chance to see the short version before we head into rehearsals to make the full-length, so please join us if you can!
July 5th + 6th (Sunday and Monday) at 8pm
Firehall Arts Centre
We're back from Seattle!
Many thanks to Cyrus Khambatta, Connie Villines, Sarah Torres, and the rest of the fantastic team at Khambatta Dance for hosting us at the 2015 Seattle International Dance Festival! Between Natalie getting to teach a Master class and getting to share NINEEIGHT, we had an amazing time. Michelle and Alex, it's always a pleasure to work and travel with you two!
Back at home, we were proud to hear that Back Away, Slowly sold out both nights of the show and the work was very well received! Thanks to Theatre Replacement and The Shadbolt Centre for the Arts for making it all happen. Special thanks to Aryo Khakpour for collaborating on and running/performing in okay.odd.; we're honoured to have you join us on this project (and the next!).
Finally, congratulations to all our friends on the amazing evening(s) of works! Be sure to keep tabs on Resounding Scream Theatre, A Wake of Vultures, O, o, o, o., The Jamie and Sarah Experience Project, and Zugzwang Media.
Photo credit (above): Alex Tam
Theatre Replacement presents
Back Away, Slowly.
June 19 & 20, 8PM
Shadbolt Centre for the Arts
Six experimental companies:
+ Resounding Scream Theatre
+ A Wake of Vultures
+ Hong Kong Exile
+ O, o, o, o.
+ The Jamie and Sarah Experience Project
+ Zugzwang Media
Tickets are $15; available through the Shadbolt Box Office (604-205-3000; tickets.shadboltcentre.com).
Shoutout to the alma mater of most of the companies: SFU School for the Contemporary Arts.
Hong Kong Exile is back after a whirlwind trip to Victoria with eatingthegame! We were thrilled to celebrate Milton's birthday by remounting one of our biggest and most ambitious shows. Thank you to HKX Board member Alex Mah for coming to our aid, to HKX pals who ferried over just to see us, and of course, to our dear friend Conor Wylie for being up for yet another adventure.
Here is a great preview Q & A by Hugo Wong from Victoria's Campus Community Radio:
We’re calling it a motivational keynote presentation. There are elements of pitch, [but] it’s hard to describe. I don’t want to give too much away. As a starting point, I would say it’s a keynote presentation about foreign investment and the intersections of business, art, East, and West. And it sounds dry, but it’s a fun time, it’s a big party too.
And his review after seeing the show:
There were moments when Wylie became practically unhinged, and the show went to places that I couldn’t have anticipated. It was ferociously funny and a strong demonstration of Hong Kong Exile’s interdisciplinary skills
Though it does have a satirical bent, it’s best viewed as a piece of performance art rather than social commentary, and by that metric it succeeds beyond any possible expectation.
We'd like to express immense gratitude to Janet Munsil for curating eatingthegame at Uno Fest, and to the rest of the Intrepid Theatre crew: Heather, Sean, Justine, Caitlin, and Ben, for making it all possible. Great to see the incredible work that Intrepid is doing over there, and we hope to be back again soon.
UNO Fest is still on!!! Go check it out, Victoria! http://intrepidtheatre.com/festivals/uno-fest/
FRIDAY NIGHT! One night only!
9:30 PM. Metro Theatre. Uno Fest. Intrepid Theatre.
Hong Kong Exile + Conor Wylie.
We have brought ETG to Victoria. Join us for a wild Friday night.
There's laughs, money, and a free gin tasting. Plus it's a pay-what-you-can performance! Christy Clark has finally accepted our invitation to the show. Don't miss it!
We are back from the CanAsian International Dance Festival in Toronto! We want to extend a huge thank you to Denise Fujiwara and the CanAsian Dance team (especially Adina, Gillian, and Arun) for bringing us back again and presenting the evolved version of NINEEIGHT. We're immensely appreciative of the support that you've given to us and we're very excited to take this momentum into the development of the NINEEIGHT full-length later this year. Congratulations to everyone involved on a very successful festival; see you again another time Toronto friends!
Next up: eatingthegame at Intrepid Theatre's Uno Fest in Victoria on May 15th!
We're back in Toronto for the 2015 CanAsian International Dance Festival! Shows run Thursday through Sunday (April 30th - May 2nd).
NATSU NAKAJIMA (Tokyo)
The doyenne of Butoh dance, Tokyo master artist Nakajima will perform the Toronto premiere of her work, Like Smoke Like Ash.
BATTERY OPERA PERFORMANCE – LEE SU-FEH (Vancouver)
Award-winning Vancouver choreographer Lee Su-Feh captivates us with her solo work, Everything, a world of smoke and numbers, flying objects and intricate beauty.
HONG KONG EXILE (Vancouver)
Innovative Vancouver-based arts company Hong Kong Exile will perform an evolved incarnation of NINEEIGHT, a powerful examination of political and social transition.
SAMPRADAYA DANCE CREATIONS (Toronto)
Experience the elegance and dynamism of bharatanatyam dance performed by one of Canada’s outstanding South Asian dance companies. Sampradaya Dance Creations performs Vivarta, a powerful work interpreting the celebrated Hindu myth of the Dashavatara — Ten Incarnations of God Vishnu.
More information and tickets can be found at this link!