Trans-Individuality

Workshop by Daniel Kok

Perhaps the public/audience has always been a dystopia – a singular as well as a plural body constituted by irreconcilable differences (note: Ranciere’s dissensus). In a shared visual space, the experience of a theatrical performance could never be conceived in universalist terms. As an object for spectating, the artist/performer is always seen differently by different individuals, answering to different levels of expectations and desires. If this is so, the artist/performer should no longer strive to embody only one set of meaning. And in order to instigate ways of seeing that require multiple points of view at the same time, and to mirror the pluralism of the audience, the artist/performer needs to see himself as both singular and plural, an agonistic Self or a figure of difference(s), that is to say, a trans-individual. His work/performance might have to go so far as to embody a variety of identities, even conflicting ones, putting various positions into play alongside or against each other.

In the lecture-performance (still working out the format at the time of planning), Daniel will articulate his research interests in recent years, which emerges from an attempt to ‘practice what Ranciere preaches’, to render politics visible, practicable or experiential through the aesthetic language of dance-as-movement. As a response, Daniel has been developing what he dubs “The Octopus Practice” with Elpida Orfanidou (Berlin/Athens) as on-going movement research. They are interested in a methodology for improvisation that involve dealing with different stimuli, information and expressions at the same time, resulting in a productive tension and confusion for the audience, and possibly for the performer as well. This also involves mixing different images and forms that do not necessarily complement each other, allowing different formal elements like gaze, breath, gestures, text, music, and so on to ‘dance’ alongside each other.

Daniel Kok

studied BA (Honours) Fine Art & Critical Theory at Goldsmiths College (London, 1997-2001), received an MA (Distinction) in Solo/Dance/Authorship (SODA) at the Inter-University Centre for Dance (HZT, Berlin, 2012) and completed the Advanced Performance and Scenography Studies (APASS, Brussels, 2014). Between 2005 and 2010, he was an Associate Artist at The Substation (Singapore). In 2008, he was the laureate of the Young Artist Award from National Arts Council (Singapore).

“Q&A” was commissioned by Singapore Arts Festival (2009). “Planet Romeo” (2011) was selected as Priority Company for the Aerowaves European Network. “Cheerleader of Europe” (2014) was supported by Nadine (Brussels), workspacebrussels and PACT Zollverein (Essen). “PIIGS” is a European Cheerleading Team Project that was supported by Nationales Performance Netz (Germany), Maxim Gorki Theater (Berlin), and workspacebrussels through the Live Long Burning cultural initiative of the European Commission. “Bunny” (2016) is a collaboration with Luke George (Australia), commissioned by Campbelltown Arts Centre (Sydney), co-produced by The Substation (Singapore), with support from Playking Foundation (Australia), Abrons Arts Center (New York City) and TanzFabrik (Berlin). Daniel’s works have been performed in various cities in Asia, Europe, Australia and North America, notably ImpulsTanz (Vienna) and Festival/Tokyo.

An avid pole dancer, he won the SG Pole Challenge 2012 and represented Singapore at the International Pole Championships 2013 (Finalist). In 2014, he collaborated with Arco Renz (Belgium) and Eisa Jocson (Philippines) to create pole duet “ALPHA”, co-produced by Esplanade (Singapore), KobaltWorks (Belgium) and the Goethe Institut.

Daniel is presently developing his artistic research on critical spectatorship and audienceship. In 2016 and 2017, he explores the notion of Trans-Individuality in a new project, “жhe (working title)” at the Kinosaki International Arts Center (Japan), where he will work with visual artist, Miho Shimizu (Japan). In 2017, he has been commissioned by the Singapore International Festival of the Arts (SIFA) to direct “MARK”, a massive drawing and choreographic work for 9 dancers in different public spaces in Singapore.

in cooperation with tanzfabrik Berlin