“For she had a great variety of selves to call upon, far more than we have been able to find room for, since a biography is considered complete if it merely accounts for six or seven selves, whereas a person may have many thousands… and these selves of which we are built up, one on top of the other, as plates are piled on a waiter’s hand, have attachments elsewhere, sympathies, little constitutions and rights of their own… so that one will only come if it is raining, another in a room with green curtains, another when Mrs. Jones is not there… and some are too wildly ridiculous to be mentioned in print at all.” – from “Orlando” by Virginia Woolf
xhe is a singular entity that is also Other and Many. xhe is not ‘he’, not ‘she’ and not ‘it’.
xhe is the pronoun for the Queer and the Possible, whose ontology is conceivable and nameable, yet paradoxically indefinite and irresolute.
xhe is an expression of hybridity, multiplicity.
xhe is a dystopia: a clash of irreconcilable differences. xhe is a proliferation of copies of copies until the original is irredeemable. What remains is the movement of the uncanny.
xhe accumulates multiple identities over time; a being that is constantly in a fluid state of becoming.
xhe can be found morphing between a square and an octopus.
We ask ourselves and everyone, “Help us find xhe!”
The Octopus Practice is a long term movement research by Daniel Kok. It is a methodology for improvisation that deals 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 easily complement each other, allowing different formal elements like fabric, gestures, symbols, jokes, wallpaper, music to ‘dance’ alongside each other.
Further, Daniel has also begun conducting research on cephalopods (ie: octopus, cuttlefish, squid). By considering how the octopus constitute a physiology and consciousness that is alien to our own, humans might be able to conceive of a true Other.
Abhinaya & Mohiniyattam
Since late 2016, Daniel has begun training in Indian Classical Dance, particularly in abhinaya and mohiniyattam. Abhinaya is an important aspect in ALL forms of Indian classical performance. It includes the use of facial expressions – the nine basic emotions (navarasa) and eyes (bhedas) – and hand gestures (mudras). Abhinaya is used most apparently in moments of Indian classical performance when the dancer is telling a story, where the combinations of hand signs and facial expressions convey the mood (bhava) of the dancer and the aesthetic experience (rasa) of the audience. Mohiniyattam is one of the eight main forms of dance in India. It originates from Kerala, the southernmost state of India. The dance is named after Mohini, the only female avatar of Vishnu, who is known for his many incarnations (including fish, turtle, boar, half-man-half-lion, warrior, Krishna). Mohini is an enchantress, who managed to seduce Shiva, as well as the demons during the churning of the ocean milk. Mohiniyattam is unique as an Indian dance in that it is particularly languid, sensuous, graceful, even hypnotic. The dancer is compared to the flames of a candle or rice fields in the wind. In studying these aspects of Indian dance, Daniel is looking for ways to enact constant transformation. We are interested in how subtle transitions in expression can help us discover representations that are ambiguous (between male & female, between human & inhuman, etc.) and open (different possible meanings and readings at the same time).
Costumes & Wallpaper
Miho will focus on the design of patterns, textiles, costumes and wallpapers. We will work with an isometric grid structure on which hexagonal (2D) and cuboid (3D) patterns are ‘carved’. The patterns create illusions of perspective and interlocking planes. They are also used as motifs to design costumes and wallpaper against which the dance and costumes will be presented. The hard geometric patterns are also intended to work with/against the softness of the fabric of the costumes as well as the organic form of the body and its movements. The confusion of patterns will act as some kind of camouflage for the body at times and at other times, contribute to the visual narrative of the performance. The dancer will move in and out of camouflage in relation to the wallpaper. Copies and fragments of the costumes will also be littered in the space so that the audience can put them on.
Choreographer & Dancer #2
Daniel Kok read BA (Honours) Fine Art & Critical Theory at Goldsmiths College (London). In 2012, Daniel received an MA (Distinction) in Solo/Dance/Authorship (SODA) at the Inter- University Centre for Dance (HZT, Berlin). In 2014, he completed the Advanced Performance and Scenography Studies (APASS) in Brussels. In 2008, he was the laureate of the Young Artist Award from National Arts Council (Singapore). His work deals with the politics of relationality in spectatorship and audienceship. His creations “Q&A” (2009), “The Gay Romeo” (2011), “Cheerleader of Europe” (2014), “ALPHA” (2014), “PIIGS” (2015) and “Bunny” (2016) have been presented in different parts of Asia, Europe, Australia, as well as the USA and Burkina Faso. Daniel also identifies as a pole dancer, rope bondage practitioner and a Thai masseur. As a pole dancer, he won the SG Pole Challenge (2012) and represented Singapore at the International Pole Championships (Finalist, 2013).
Lilia Mestre is a Portuguese performing artist living and working in Brussels. In her work she uses choreographic tools to research the social body. She gives special attention to the agency of all things and has been working in assemblages, scores and inter-subjective set ups. Since 1994 she has worked as a dancer and collaborator namely with Vera Mantero, Hans Van den Broeck, Christine de Smedt, Martin Nachbar, Kate Machintosh, Mette Edvardsen between others. Her own work includes the stage performances: “Untitle me”, “Missing Link”, “Beyond Mary and Joseph”, “Rendering”, “(g)hosts” and “Moving you”. Since 2006 she is artistic coordinator for Bains Connective Art Laboratory in Brussels. Currently, she is associate program curator at a.pass (advanced performance and scenography studies) in Brussels.
Miho Shimizu works as one half of an artistic duo, collaborating with Øyvind Renberg (Norway) in Danger Museum. Shimizu graduated with a BA from Goldsmiths College in 2000/2001 and an MA from the Oslo National Academy of The Arts, with an exchange at Piet Swart Institute, Rotterdam. Most recently, Shimizu completed a mural commissioned for NYCDOT in New York (2013). Danger Museum has held solo exhibitions at Davis Museum, Barcelona (2013), HKS, Bergen (2010) UKS, Oslo (2008), Wysingarts, Cambridge (2007), Sparwasser HQ, Berlin (2004), Art Space Hue, Seoul (2004) and inIVA, London (2002). Their work has also been included in the exhibitions in the Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, Galeria Arsenał, Białystok, Preus Museum, Horten, Art in General, New York and Stenersen Museum, Oslo.
Based in Barcelona, Filastine is the duo of composer/director Grey Filastine and vocalist/ designer Nova Ruth. Filastine’s compositions fuse contemporary electronic beats with concrete sounds, voices, percussion, and acoustic strings. This is future bass music from a future where the globe has been flipped, the sonic territories remixed, and syncopated mid-eastern rhythms and asian melodies shape a new urban sound. Filastine have released a trilogy of full- length albums, a half dozen vinyls on an equal number of record labels, and a grip of heady conceptual mixtapes Beyond music, Filastine uses video, design, and now dance, as forms of a universal language to communicate. Filastine is currently on tour in Asia, Europe and N.America with their latest album, “Drapetomania”.
Karol Tyminski is an independent dancer and choreographer. He studied at the Turczynowicz Ballet School in Warsaw and the Performing Arts Research and Training Studios (P.A.R.T.S.) in Brussels. Karol performed in a range of productions by noted dance artists such as Nigel Charnock, Jennifer Lacy, Agneja Seiko and Joseph Alter. In 2013, Tymiński presented “BEEP” at the 3rd edition of Warsaw Stage for Dance and was part of the 8:tension program of Impulstanz Festival in Vienna. His most recent work, “This is a Musical” presents a laboring body in the production of a visceral, discordant and deeply queer electronic fantasy. In 2017, Karol will join the Master in Choreography program in Amsterdam.
Mentor (Indian Dance)
An immigrant from Kerala, India, acclaimed classical Indian dance proponent Santha Bhaskar moved to Singapore in 1956 upon her marriage to fellow dance instructor, K. P. Bhaskar. A pioneer of Indian dance in Singapore, the dancer and choreographer has been artistic director and choreographer of Bhaskar’s Arts Academy and Nrityalaya Aesthetics Society since their inception. Also an accomplished musician, she also holds a diploma in Carnatic music from the Tamil Nadu government. Her repertoire of work is especially noted for its cross-cultural influences, oftentimes incorporating elements of Malay, Chinese and even Thai dance, in an elegant fashion that pays tribute to the multi-cultural environment, which she practices her art in. In 1990, Santha received the Cultural Medallion from Singapore for her contribution to dance.