Happy holidays everyone! We’ve been meaning to post an update for a while about what we’ve been up to over the last few months so here it is, just in time for the new year.
After returning to Melbourne after our tour earlier this year we were still buzzing. Learning more about the arts of South-East Asia and having the opportunity to meet so many people and explore heaps of cool places left us wanting more. Arts events and communities across the region seem to have a certain indescribable energy and momentum behind them that we found really refreshing. Throughout the process, we also felt we developed a lot and gained a fresh perspective on our artistic practice that provided a lot of inspiration for our future projects and plans. Therefore, we decided that our best course of action would be to go back, get started with planning some projects and explore the region to its full potential!
So after a bit of planning, we left Melbourne in September and headed to Ho Chi Minh City. Da, who is a performance artist that we met during our tour, had invited us to collaborate with him in a show he was presenting so shortly after our arrival we were performing again. The theme of this performance was ambiguity - ambiguity in the meaning of the gestures, in the role of the performers and in the role of audience - to highlight the crucial element of interpretation in the performing arts. The aim was to give all audience members a different interpretative experience, an aim heightened by the unconventional seating arrangement. Da is a fantastic artist with seemingly infinite ideas and we really enjoyed working with him again as well as two local musicians, Au Bao Ngan and Nam Phan. You can check out a brief sample of the performance below!
After our brief stop in Saigon, we headed north for Hue. It was great to be back in Hue and to reconnect with the people we met there during our tour. We had discussed working on a film project together before our arrival so once we arrived we dived straight into it. The film was set in Ho Thuy Tien, an abandoned water park up a hill just outside Hue, and features poetry and a range performance art pieces inspired by the haunting setting, examining loss of innocence and abandonment. After a few days of an intense filming schedule, the first draft of the editing and soundtrack was finished with just 15 minutes to spare before the film’s premiere screening at Then Cafe! Performing in a film and creating a soundtrack were new experiences for us and it was a great learning curve and fun process. The final editing is still in process and we look forward to sharing the completed product in the future.
After wrapping things up in Vietnam, next on the agenda was a performance in Taiwan for the 2016 Taipei Free Art Fair. We were really excited to have our performance proposal accepted for the fair and to visit Taipei for the first time. But first we made a stop in Thailand to work on our performance concept and gather all the materials we would need. The theme of the fair was the relationship between food and art so we decided to present a performance using kitchen utensils, plates, our saxophone mouthpieces and some hoses, juxtaposed against a constantly ticking kitchen timer that comes in and out of focus. We headed to the hardware store to get everything we needed and had a lot of fun trying the potential of different items in the store.
Shortly after, we headed to Taipei for the fair. The event as a whole was fantastic - there were so many interesting works on display from artists mostly from Taiwan and around Asia. It took place within the Huashan 1914 Creative Park, a large factory complex that has been refurbished and is now a dedicated space for the arts and cultural events. We stayed in Taipei for about a week and every day that we visited the park there were a variety of cool events on - definitely worth checking out if you’re ever in Taipei. We performed twice in the fair and mostly it went really well aside from a small incident in which Matt hit a glass jar a little too enthusiastically causing it to shatter. But maybe that added to the performance? Anyway, it was a really interesting experience for us and we hope to return to the fair in the future! Below is a sample of our performance.
After Taipei, we headed back to Hue for about a month. As you may know, Hue is somewhat notorious for its rainy season but we really underestimated just how much it rains! At one point, it rained for 5 days with no break at all. Then even when the rain let up, it was usually only for an hour or two before it started again. With the constant rain, we spent a lot of time inside working on a film/sound project which we are hoping to finish up soon. It was also great to stay in Hue for a longer amount of time so that we could spend plenty of time hanging out with some of our friends there. Our friends have a new dog, Rom, so that was probably a highlight for us! We’ll be back in Hue soon for sure just to see him.
Now, with a few days left of 2016, we are in Bangkok where thankfully the sun is shining. We’ve got some really exciting plans in the works for 2017 which we look forward to sharing in the coming weeks and months!