From 14 to 18 January 2015, Loo Zihan, a performance and moving-image artist and educator interested in investigating the tension between the flesh of the body with the bone of the archive, staged "With/Out", a faithful interpretation of Chew's monologue as part of the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival. Through the use of multimedia, video documentation and other archival material, Loo constructed the production as an extension of his research into performance re-enactments, the mediation of a "live" presence via the use of technology, and the re-visioning of queer histories in Singapore.
With/Out was developed in residence at Centre 42. There was no fixed seating for the performance which included photo and video documentation. By attending the production, the audience was advised that they would grant permission for the artist and production team to photograph and video them, and otherwise capture their image. The artist had the right to reproduce, use, exhibit, display, broadcast and distribute and create derivative works of the images and recordings.
Reimagining Singapore Theatre
Admission was free admission with registration at m1sff-theatre.peatix.com. The talk lasted 90 minutes with no intermission. It was moderated by Sean Tobin, Artistic Director of the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival.
The participating artists included Loo Zihan who concomitantly mounted an exhibition of newspaper archives regarding Paddy Chew as an introduction to "With/Out".
The organisers of the event were proud to announce that 4 of the performances in the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2015 were developments or reimaginings of works previously staged from as early as 1999, and as recent as 2013. They thought that the project was, needless to say, something worth doing and talking about.
Not a lot of restaged work was seen in Singapore. Apart from a few exceptions from time to time, Singaporeans had a habit of quickly disposing and forgetting their own creative efforts and achievements and moving right along.
In the spirit of encouraging the development and exposure of local work and artistry, the organisers wanted to highlight 4 works to the public, and give the audience some insight into the development towards their 2015 staging.
The public was invited for a lively discussion about the artists’ inspirations, challenges and strategies. The talk was really interesting for anyone who wanted to get a better taste of what was in store for Fringe 2015, and also to learn more about the processes of art-making.
What was involved in recalling, reimagining and re-developing past works? Why had these artists chosen to revisit the works again? How did the passing of time, hindsight and growth as an artist change how one might negotiate theatre-making? What were the artists behind these works consumed with at the time as they prepared for their fresh staging in January 2015?
The audience was presented with the chance to come and find out the answers to those and more questions, and perhaps even help give shape to the works, with the sharing of their own opinions and questions.
The talk was presented in collaboration with Centre 42 as part of their Living Room programme, which was a series of lectures, talks and workshops on writing, text-based works, local theatre, art-making and many more.
The following video of the forum was recorded by Daniel Teo:
"Four of the performances in Fringe’15 will be developments or reimaginings of works previously staged, from as early as 1999 to as recent as 2013. This talk, hosted and moderated by Artistic Director Sean Tobian, will gather Fringe’15 artists Joel Tan and Chen Yingxuan (Mosaic), Alvin Tan (untitled women), Pat Toh (Terra Incognita), and Loo Zihan (With/Out), to discuss the development and exposure of local work and artistry, and reimaginings towards their 2015 restagings.
Reimagining Singapore Theatre is presented by the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2015, in collaboration with Centre 42’s Living Room programme.
The Living Room is a programme by Centre 42 that welcomes chat and conversation. Through focused but casual dialogues and face-to-face exchanges, this programme encourages participants to re-examine trends, happenings, people (on & off-stage) and phenomena in Singapore theatre. Please head to www.centre42.sg for more information, or email email@example.com if you have any enquiries or feedback.
The M1 Singapore Fringe Festival is an annual festival of theatre, dance, music, visual arts and mixed media created and presented by Singaporeans and international artists. Themed differently each year, the Festival aims to bring the best of contemporary, cutting-edge and socially engaged works to the Singapore audience. Please head to www.singaporefringe.com/fringe2015/ for more on the 2015 festival."
This article was written by Roy Tan.