The four-person dance collective EU & ME (European Union & a little MISTAKE and an EXCUSE) consisting of
Joey CHUA Poh Yi (Singapore, Hong Kong)
Marie CHABERT (France, UK)
Csilla NAGY (Hungary)
Rhys TURNER (Australia)
performed their work FIND.MOVE.PLAY, an interactive physical theatre performance with digital art, for the opening night of the Art for Nature Exhibition at Rimbun Dahan on Saturday 24 July 2010. [Photos below by Anthony Pelchen.]
The Collective began in 2008 in New York, in the frame of the Dance Collective programme organised by OMI international Arts Centre. Then the artists collaborated in the Czech Republic as resident artists of CESTA Festival. After four successful presentations in Hong Kong and Singapore this performance at Rimbun Dahan is the closing show of a one-month tour.
EU & ME arrived at Rimbun Dahan on Saturday 17 July, and within the space of a week created a 45-minute work tailored to the specific spaces of Rimbun Dahan as well as inspired by the artists’ own experiences of being on a residency in Southeast Asia and discovering life in Malaysia.
FIND.MOVE.PLAY was performed at 10pm on 24 July as the final event on the opening night of Art for Nature. Information about the performance was provided through an announcement during the opening ceremonies, and by flyers distributed on the dinner tables.
The performers used a number of different sites around the property, including the central space of the underground gallery, the reflective lotus pond, outdoor sculptures and herb garden. The performers invited the audience of 100-200 people to follow them from site to site, linking the vignettes with a narrative about Orpheus and searching for love.
The performance incorporated digital art, with a dance film taking a comic look at residencies at Rimbun Dahan, and an interactive soundscape in which selected audience members wearing headphones heard the accompanying music change as they moved around the space. The audience was also invited to participate in the work, manipulating the dancers, helping them with specific tasks, answering questions and holding flashlights.
FIND.MOVE.PLAY alternated impressionistic romantic moments – Joey Chua wearing a traditional Chinese cheongsam and singing a Chinese love song while paddling herself about among waterlilies, or Marie Chabert flinging herself about among towered sculptures of lit glass – with moments of slapstick comedy, as when Marie slapped Rhys Turner on the face in retaliation for his bad pickup lines, and moments of unforgettable eeriness, such as Csilla Nagy’s mysterious inhuman emergence from the darkened pool followed by her literally stalking a quivering audience member. The tone of the work transitioned easily, tracing the natural atmospheres of the various different performance sites.
In addition to being a fun, funny and thought-provoking work in its own right, FIND.MOVE.PLAY also functioned perfectly as a teaser for Dancing in Place, a weekend of site-specific contemporary dance performances that will take place at Rimbun Dahan during the final week of the Art for Nature exhibition. By using multiple venues in very different ways, the audience was able to appreciate the potential for site-specific work at Rimbun Dahan. For many members of the audience more used to visual art, it served as an accessible introduction to contemporary dance and audience participation.