Ka Fai Choy
20 February – 12 May 2017
Blurring the boundaries between visual arts, dance, design, and technology, Choy Ka Fai’s multidisciplinary practice employs media such as video, interactive installation, sound, as well as choreography to explore the intangible and the material forces that condition the human body, often focusing on the intersection between technology, memory, and movement. Most recently he has developed Soft Machine, a dance research project, presented in several countries around the world, that maps the lexicon of Asian choreography as well as the possible futures of contemporary dance in Asia.
Choy Ka Fai (b. 1979, Singapore) lives and works in Berlin, Germany. He graduated from the Royal College of Art, London, United Kingdom, with a M.A. in Design Interaction. Between 2014 and 2015 he was in residence at Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany, and from 2007 to 2009, he was associate artistic director of TheatreWorks, Singapore. In 2010, he was conferred the Young Artist Award by the National Arts Council, Singapore. His projects have been presented in major festival worldwide, including Sadler’s Wells, London, United Kingdom (2016), ImPulsTanz Festival, Vienna, Austria (2015), and Tanz Im August, Berlin, Germany (2013 ,2015).
Regarded as a successful model of strategic governance and urban planning across Asia, Singapore has shared her infrastructure plans and industrial development expertise with other countries since the 1990s. Choy Ka Fai intends to research the tensions and ideals that underlie the establishment of Singapore as a utopian “prototype city” investigating the multiple narratives that frame the efforts to export and, occasionally to forge, such an utopia.
Residencies OPEN offers a rare insight into the often introverted spaces of the artists’ studios. Through showcasing discussions, performances, research, and works-in-progress, Residencies OPEN profiles the diversity of contemporary art practice and the divergent ways artists conceive artwork with the studio as a constant space for experimentation and research.
This edition of Residencies OPEN takes place on the occasion of Singapore Art Book Fair 2017, and features Chris Chong Chan Fui (Malaysia), Choy Ka Fai (Singapore), Lucy Davis (Uganda/France), Hu Yun (China), Geraldine Kang (Singapore), Souliya Phoumivong (Laos), and Matthias Sohr (Germany/Switzerland).
Sublime Dreams of the Body Explorers is a collection of proposals on new perspectives for imagining our future through the body. Choy Ka Fai presents his ongoing research and explorations into how the body can remember and invent technological narratives. His project spans across the visual fields of choreographic processes, from the technicality of body conditioning to the cultural, social, and political aspects of dance. The lecture will also introduce the blueprint of Ember Jello, the first Artificial Intelligent Machine prototype for choreographic processes designed by the artist.
This lecture is part of the public programme of The Making of an Institution.
The wind that cuts the body
Driven by his interest in exploring the conditions of the human body, multi-disciplinary artist Choy Ka Fai focuses his research on choreographic practices in Asia. The wind that cuts the body presents his current investigation into Butoh, which arose in Japan at the end of the 1950s, encompassing a diverse range of techniques from dance, theatre, and movement. Choy traces the legacy of one of the key founders, Tatsumi Hijikata (1928–1986) who sought a new form of physical expression he referred to as ankoku butō (“dance of darkness”), delving into imageries of the grotesque and sickness of the human form. The research presentation will feature a selection of reference materials from the Tatsumi Hijikata Archive in Tokyo and from the artist’s expeditions, interviews, and documentary sketches. In his pursuit, Choy went to the extent of interviewing the spirit of Hijikata through an itako (Japanese shaman) and to speculate on the technological possibilities of dancing with Hijikata again.
The wind that cuts the body is curated by Khim Ong, Deputy Director, Curatorial Programmes.