During Side Step Festival 2023, the MUU Helsinki Contemporary Art Centre at the Cable Factory is presenting The Wanderer: Metal, Water, Earth (2021-2022), by choreographer Choy Ka Fai. Open from Feb 4 until Feb 12.
Where does the body goes if we go beyond?
Berlin-based Singapore artist Choy Ka Fai has been researching the dimensions of bodily experience, expression and perception in its connection to environments of developing technique and technology in the last decade. His work is constantly posing questions about the constitution of the body as a medium towards its surrounding and as an archive of remembrance in the midst of digital streams dissolving classical conceptions of physical corporeality. By creating choreographic works including organic, material bodies, and bodies of data, Choy investigates post-human approaches as an alternative way of thinking the relationship between human bodies and worldly phenomena.
The Wanderer: Metal, Water, Earth is a selection of supernatural dance experiences inspired by contemporary shamanic practices in different parts of Asia, each ascribed to a natural element by the artist. The video series is part CosmicWander - an ongoing project by Choy that explores shamanic dance cultures in Asia, delving into the process of worlding across different communities. Having ventured into the region in search of trance experiences, the artist has met over 50 shamans and documented dance rituals from collective trance in Siberia to mythological practices in Java.
[METAL] The Third Prince: A 3D game prototype designed as a meditative journey to the island of Formosa in the year 2096. An entire generation had forgotten how to communicate with their Gods and the game protagonist, Android Shaman of the Third Prince, seeks to decode the technologies of memory and reconnection to the ancient island Gods.
[WATER]_In Search of the Tragic Spirits: Following decades of Soviet suppression, the resilient Buryat people in Siberia craft a narrative where their ancestral spirits Ongon return, vengeful over being abandoned during socialist rule. For the Buryats, these tragic spirits are supernatural links to their forgotten past and testament to a history of erasure. In Search of the Tragic Spirits is inspired by the artist’s encounters with Siberian shamans and presents a travelogue of his experience with trance and Tengrism – the religion of the Eternal Blue Sky.
[EARTH]_Postcolonial Spirits: A visual study on the Indonesian folk tradition Dolalak, originating from Purworejo Regency in central Java, The trance dance ritual draws upon a multi-dimensional history of traditional Javanese dance movement, imitations of partying Colonial Dutch solider and melodic Islamic poems. The research documents the Budi Santoso Dolalak group, one of the last remaining male dancer troop, who still transmits the original dance notation from the 1930s.
"We invite you to commune with us, and to think about our bodies and our spiritual states in these strange times." — Choy Ka Fai
Bio: Choy Ka Fai
Choy Ka Fai is a Berlin-based Singaporean artist. His multidisciplinary art practice situates itself at the intersection of dance, media art and performance. At the heart of his research is a continuous exploration of the metaphysics of the human body. Through research expeditions, pseudo-scientific experiments and documentary performances, Ka Fai appropriates technologies and narratives to imagine new futures of the human body.
In 2018, Ka Fai started researching on the CosmicWander series which explore shamanic dance culture in Asia. CosmicWander has produce multiple productions of dance, lecture, visual exhibition and virtual reality works. In 2021, “CosmicWander: Expedition” a solo exhibition was presented by the Singapore Art Museum, followed by a virtual reality experience “Blue Sky Academy” at the Temp D’Image Festival by Tanzhaus nrw dussendolf. The immersive exhibition of CosmicWander and the performance of “Post Colonial Spirits” premiered at Tanz Im August Festival in Berlin. Most recently, “Yishun Is Burning” was performed at Tanzplattform Deutschland hosted by HAU Berlin in 2022.
Ka Fai’s projects have been presented in major institutions and festivals worldwide, including Sadler’s Wells (London, UK), ImPulsTanz Festival (Vienna, Austria) and Tanz Im August (Berlin, Germany). He was the resident artist at tanzhaus nrw in Düsseldorf (2017–2019) and Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin (2014-15). Ka Fai graduated with a M.A. in Design Interaction from the Royal College of Art, London, United Kingdom.
Concept, Direction, Cinematography Choy Ka Fai
Mediaturgy Tang Fukuen, Khim Ong and You Mi
3D Visual design & Programming Brandon Tay
Sound Design Tseng Yun-Fang, Betty Apple, Yennu Ariendra, Mo’ong Santosa Pribadi and Nova Ruth,
Research & Translation Sekar Putri Handayani, Holly Chan and Mitya Glavanakov
Project Management Mara Nedelcu and Tammo Walter
ACKNOWLEDGMENT: CosmicWander is supported by: Singapore Art Museum, Taipei Performing Arts Center, tanzhaus nrw Düsseldorf, Nationales Performance Netz (NPN) - Coproduction Fund for Dance by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, Germany. The research process is supported by: the National Arts Council of Singapore, and Kunststiftung NRW.