Interchange Festival 2019

Charemaine Seet with Ting-Ting Cheng, Lu Shirley Dai, Anna Kuroda, Bernice Lee, Faye Lim, Justine Shih Pearson

Digital Discussion: Responding to Miguel Gutierrez’s Article, ‘Does Abstraction Belong to White People?’

In 2018, New York City based choreographer Miguel Gutierrez wrote an article for BOMB about his artistic relationship to abstraction and the conflicts he has in regards to the cultural ownership of abstraction and postmodern dance inside a predominantly white society. In May 2019, choreographer and performance theorist Anh Vo responded to the article by interviewing choreographer Juliana F. May in Critical Correspondence and took on the ‘thorny problem of whiteness and abstraction’.

In late 2019, Critical Path joins the fray with a digital meet-up provoked by these conversations. A group of dance and conceptual artists from Australia, China, and Singapore, linked by their immersion in postmodern dance and conceptual/abstract art, begin their own conversation. Using both articles as a step-off point, they will address how they navigate an international arts culture which often expects them to create work about identity above abstract aesthetic interests. The digital meet-up is facilitated by dancer and choreographer Charemaine Seet.

The outcome of the digital meet-up will be online in early 2020.

Participants of the digital meet-up:

Charemaine Seet is a Sydney-based dancer and choreographer that has created work in London, New York and Sydney. She is the director of Seet Dance, a contemporary dance school that introduces young dancers to the work of postmodern choreographers including Doug Elkins, Trisha brown, Yvonne Rainer etc. Recent Seet Dance projects have included Postmodern Zombies and Trio A with Rabbits.

Ting-Ting Cheng is a visual artist based in London and Taiwan who is interested in revisiting history through interpreting archival and found materials to explore how politics, race, and culture interplay with each other. She has had solo shows at Taipei Fine Art Museum and galleries in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Spain and London. Her works have been featured in biennales and arts festival throughout the world (from Moscow to Brazil) and she has participated in artists in residencies in Spain, Berlin, London, Manchester etc.  Her works are in the collection of Taipei Fine Art Museum, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Art, Fundació per amor a l’Art and Fundación Entrecanales in Spain, and more.

Lu Shirley Dai is a dance artist and filmmaker based in Beijing and New York City. Her works navigate a complicated space of aesthetics and styles through the lens of her Chinese cultural background and her revelatory encounter with postmodern dance. Recent works have included Putting My Chineseness and Scraps of Postmodernism in a Contemporary Washing Machine. She has designed and is currently teaching a contemporary dance course for the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing.

Anna Kuroda is a dancer artist from Japan now based in Western Sydney. Her movement practice focuses on sensitivity to internal and external air flow around the body, sharpness, fragility and unique rhythm. She aspires to make work where, through focus and technical skill, the dancer’s body is, in a way, unseen; leaving cells and memories. In 2016 she was one of 6 finalists for the Toyota Choreography Award, Japan and a Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre Studios Switch resident for her work development ‘Kanji’. Her most recent work was Subtle Downtempo No performed by Raw Moves in Singapore.

Bernice Lee is a contemporary dance artist from and in Singapore. In her creations she deals with time as primary material. Her labours are rooted in improvisation, and sees art-making as a form of social activism. She co-directs Rolypoly Family with Faye Lim. With Chong Gua Khee, she has a joint practice The-Body-as-Theatre. An associate member of Dance Nucleus, she also enjoys teaching at various institutions. Currently developing her solo practice ghosting, she performed most recently at M1 Contact Festival, and can be found playing with #ghosting on Instagram.

Faye Lim improvises, facilitates, performs, dances, makes, and mothers. In her recent performative works, she explores questions about the “personal persona” – how does she show up as herself in the work? How does she perform her desires, fears, unknowing, and personal history in improvised performances? Faye makes works alone or collaboratively, such as through Strangeweather Movement Group, which she founded to create and perform works that come and go. She co-hosts and facilitates dance improvisation and contact improvisation for adults, children and both together. As co-director of Derring-Do Dance, she makes body-based works and programmes, eg. Rolypoly Family and Body Smarts Through Movement Arts. Faye is an associate member of Dance Nucleus in Singapore.

Justine Shih Pearson is a Sydney-based designer, creative producer, and scholar of contemporary performance and dance. Trained originally in theatre design at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, over 20 years she has collaborated on projects for live performance, museums, hospitals, film, new media, print and online publishing. She works closely with independent artists in particular, supporting critical discourse around practice. She has worked in leadership positions in the arts industry as producer of interdisciplinary film festival ReelDance, director of choreographic research centre Critical Path, and is currently chair of the artist-run Readymade Works.

Image credit: Ashley Garrett

Date & Location

Wednesday 4 December 2019 - Thursday 31 December 2020