Thursday, August 30, 2007

Tan Dun: The Map and Paper Concert in Singapore.

Tan Dun is a Performing creator, musical composer, orchestra director, and he is Chinese. Born in Hunan, and today inhabitant and distinguished member of the New York artistic community, Tan Dun is a contemporary musician, media explorer, a seeker and a “schematic/structural madman”).

During the nineties, even while having great commercial success (even producing opera or music for film) and, motivated by another famous oriental musician (Yo-yo Ma) he tried to recover as much as possible of the living musical sources that nourished him in his childhood.

He remembers hearing a “stone-man”, a folk musician who made music with stones, music that explained the universe and was a medium to communicate with it. When he returned to talk with him, the stone-man had passed away.

Then he started to walk alone and his steps took him to draw what he called “a map”; once more his hearing drove him through memory towards small and remote Chinese villages he knew were traditional music sources, places which, at that moment, were hidden behind the “new Chinese emerging power” screen. (1) He knew there were rivers and lakes, which, in combination with human work, could sing and could make music as well.

With an ordinary video camera he filmed precious scenes of performances by traditional musicians, dancers and singers in their usual surroundings; but he was a creator, and didn’t want to store that information in a museum or an archive, he knew those videos were living music and they could take part of his new musical piece, The Map.

Tan Dun’s memories brought back to life the stone-man music; with this musical background he wrote a musical piece in the usual way, and then he mixed everything in a sublime composition with those videos he took in his natal rural China.

The Map

I first watched on TV that marvelous documentary about the creation process of The Map and the special performance in Fenghuang when I was living in Lebanon. I was fascinated by the melodies and musical pieces Tan Dun explored. I thought he was looking for ghosts, souls who through singing and music offered secrets to anyone who wanted to listen, and he listened.

Some time after that experience I bought the video and had the chance to observe carefully every aspect of this “musical act”, enjoying it completely. I memorized how he achieved that moment (the performance in Fenghuang); how he united the highest technology with his most ancient China; I memorized how he brought that overpowering media technology where there wasn’t even electricity. Hundreds of special guests from the central government, bureaucrats, intellectuals, etc. came to Fenghuang and mixed with those unimportant people from Chinese minorities; Television broadcasted live united them with the world. I memorized also how those traditional musicians and singers, now spectators, watched themselves in those videos, at the concert, becoming part of Tan Dun’s piece.

When living in China and planning my trip to Singapore for the Singapore Arts Festival 2007, I saw The Map and Paper Concerto was among the special events and I was shocked: would I miss it?

Before that special concert I could see some others performances, like “Optical Identity” by T’ang Quartet and Theatre Cryptic and “Dreaming of Kuanyin Meeting Madonna” by Mark Chan and Arts Fission. Then on July the 3rd, Tan Dun and the Singapore Philharmonic Orchestra performed at the Esplanade.

The Esplanade Concert Hall is one of the most important theaters of the world, because of its superb architecture and the quality of anything performed there. Tan Dun did very little to change the usual stage: the orchestra, the orchestra director’s place and soloist’s place were at the usual area; two middle sized video screens hanging over the stage; two large paper strips, hanging at both sides of the stage; and part of the lateral box on the second floor had special seats for around 6 musicians. The Concert Hall was almost full to capacity with expectant spectators. It seemed that many of them knew about this famous composer. Applauses, silence, and then, music.

The Map’s premiere was in Boston in February 2003, but it had its first memorable performance in November of the same year in Fenghuang Ancient Village, Xiangxi, China (the video I talked about was made during that performance). This work, from my point of view, reached its highest value for being a concert performed in that place (the Chinese village), at that moment (2003) and for that people (the spectators of that evening); there, it was an event totally full of life and it was enormous. It was overpowering in all senses. But the same “musical piece” in that concert at the Esplanade in Singapore in June 2007, without those spectators, without the place itself, was only a “strange piece” of bits of traditional Chinese music mixed with Western music in an interesting balance, at moments nice, at moments alive. That evening, we, the spectators, were only that, some western educated people honoring a great Chinese composer and having fun with his famous and rare musical work. We were helping to rescue the Chinese tradition, as in a museum.

That evening at the Esplanade, technology didn’t go to an inhospitable village to create a media fantasy; this time, it was some data in video format, coming from remote China, performed in the middle of a technological kingdom. As spectators we were enthusiastic, as was expected from people who attended a great concert of a great figure in a great art festival. But that evening something was missing.

I firmly believe that the worth of The Map lies in its being a “contemporary performative musical piece”, which only achieves its highest value as a temporary “Performing Media Art” and with the support of its creative process: that concert in Fenghuang in 2003 was not a simple concert, it was a “performative act” including Tan Dun’s musical piece, but also using Tan Dun’s spatial and theatrical concept.

In Singapore I was seated listening to a musical concert; then, I decided to listen the music. I’m not a musical connoisseur, I only enjoy listening, and this work was enjoyable but nothing else.

Paper Concerto

The Paper Concerto came after several other explorations by Tan Dun with his Chinese sources (among others, traditional music in The Map, and music of the elements in the Water Concerto). Now, he literally made music with paper.

The concept of paper is linked to the relationship between China and the world; in China, paper is linked with the sound it has and its expressiveness; Chinese life has listened to its paper for centuries. Tan Dun, as a good Chinese artist, was open to listening to it, he assimilated that sound, he sublimated it and then he created a “western style” concert in 4 movements.

The Paper Concerto was written for that kind of stage where we listened to it (and where we saw it): a common concert hall stage; and it worked perfectly on it. It reached, from my point of view, the magnitude of epic music.

Where others would make (and have made) sounds manipulating paper or cardboard and just using rhythms and jugglery, Tan Dun makes a really high musical work, a well done concert, and a real act of movement. Tan Dun is a great musician but he is also an important performing artist, I have no doubts about it. (2)

Long white paper strips, Chinese paper, to touch, to beat, and bits of paper to crumple and whistle; paper which is seen and is heard; sound that makes us vibrate and then arrives to our hearing as sublime.

Tan Dun worked with the whole western musical background he has acquired, and then mixed it with that paper sound held in his memories; then, that western music (now old) was renovated and refreshed, it got life and power. That music was also visual. Those three percussionists danced, they were living a musical body action.

Tan Dun made moving music on the stage, however his western musicians didn’t move from their seats. (3)

The Paper Concerto in Singapore was a successful performance, it was a high value artistic act and was absolutely enjoyable. Its creator, Tan Dun, has now in me a respectful admirer.

There is no recorded material about this event. The Singapore Festival didn’t permit taking photographs inside or outside the concert hall. Even when Tan Dun was giving autographs security officers were stopping any attempts to take video or photos, even though it was in front of the cafeteria!

I found some links to Tan Dun’s official Web site and one video uploaded in Youtube.

Tan Dun’s Web site:

(1) Since the eighties China has lived an astounding transformation, as well as a massive destruction of its reservoirs of traditional customs. Those remote and forgotten villages now live surrounded by concrete, pollution and “progress”, some of them have been converted into tourist sights where life has been annihilated and only money leads. The Han people, the majority of Chinese but also those who manage China, see Chinese minorities only as a touristic interest, as conquerors visiting those places as part of their conquest, looking for a showcase-moment of different customs. The central government has catalogued every minority, every village, every custom, every costume, every traditional performing art, and put them on touristic sale; that has only served to draw them out of their natural context: people sang while working, now they sing because tourists pay for it; who performed a ritual theatre now has a permanent stage and a schedule of performances with little care about the traditional ritual schedule; ancient villages full of life are rebuilt (which is good, of course) and villagers relocated to the outskirts, some of them being employed as “traditional villagers” doing the “traditional works” they used to do before the relocation. Chinese from big cities love visiting theme parks that reproduce world architecture and customs, some with reproductions of Venice or Paris or of the Mexican pyramids, so, these remote villages are just one extension of those Chinese theme parks.
Tan Dun studied and worked as a Beijing Opera actor during the Cultural Revolution years.
Perhaps T’ang Quartet and Cryptic Theatre could understand more about his exploration if they watched carefully the work of this Chinese artist.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Two videos about "Moon Water" performance...

Some short videos I found in Youtube about "Moon Water" performance by Cloud Gate Dance Company from Taiwan. (1)

First an URL, cause it is not possible to post the video in here:

This video was posted by a Chinese youtuber:

(1) Post: 7/18/07

Friday, August 24, 2007

Mei Lanfang Hand Gestures. Part 2.

Mei Lanfang hand gestures (Slideshow)

Here a new version of "Mei Lanfang hand gestures video"; this occasion only photographs of those amazing hands, without text in Chinese or motion images. I thought It was important posting this special slideshow just to appreciate on detail those hand gestures Mei Lanfang used to do on stage.

Every photograph is taken from Chinese books. Mei Lanfang, the great Chinese Opera actor had pictures taken of each of his gestures, even hands, face and eyes, looking for establishing a document record for future generations of actors. Many of these gestures were created by Mei Lanfang, including those for moments usually devoid of gesture, or where he dared (as, from the traditional Oriental point of view, it was viewed as daring) to change something that had been done by actors for generations.

Add a vintage film with two short scenes mixed, Mei working with his hands without costume and with costume:

Today those gestures are part of Beijing Opera actors' repertory and they perform them at the same place and in the same way Mei used to do it.

The first version of this video was posted on July 22th 2007: Beijing Opera: Mei Lanfang hand's gestures

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

“OSCURIDAD”: a Recall


With: Marisol Solorio y Francisco Camacho

Text and direction by Gustavo Thomas

Produced by Esférica Ludens, Compañía de Arte Representacional.

Premiere: Sunday, August 18th 2002, at the "Caravana de Ecatepec” Festival,Estado de Mexico, Mexico.

About the play

“Oscuridad” was Esférica Ludens’s fourth and best developed work, a result of the exploration of acting techniques that the company had been doing since 1998.

Esférica Ludens had staged four works: Letanía (1998), Tríptico Telefónico (1999), Inhalaciones (2000) and “Entremeses Cervantinos” (2001). Each play had been a direct evolution of one way of approaching drama and acting techniques, and every performance by Esférica Ludens was one step towards the growth of the company.

Work by work we progressed in our exploration and in the use of different acting techniques chosen by the director: González Caballero’s Acting Method, Stanislavski’s Physical Actions Method and Eugenio Barba’s Theatre Anthropology’s Physical Principles.

Our scripts were written initially based on known drama works and then altered during the creative process of every work. That is how “Oscuridad” evolved, along a line of learning; it was a work based on the performer’s work.

The theme arose from our readings of “Le Misanthrope” by Molière and “Les liasons dangereuses” by Laclos. Then the actors created series of physical actions (about 500), the playwright found, during that process, the words that would match his script (at the end a 5000 word text), and the director combined those actions and words into an 80 minute performance.

The play happens in one space and one time, following Aristotle’s principles. There is no scenography other than one table, one chair, two candles working as “stage light”, and nothing else. The year is 1612, we’re awaiting Louis XIV’s death, at a basement of the Palais de Versailles. Our characters are borrowed from Molière’s and Laclos`s works but they are our contemporaries, they think like many of us.

It is an eclectic piece: it combines styles and ways of creating (both avant-garde and classical), without a defined space and time even though space and time exist within the story.

“Oscuridad” was Esférica Ludens’ fourth work in a six-stage plan. It should have been followed by “Invocación” (staging process remained unfinished) and “Misterio” (which remains just a script).


Monday, August 20, 2007

Not to see Pina Bausch and her Cafe Müller.

"Café Müller" Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina bausch

I’m writing because I’m hurting. Now that I’ve got the chance to visit one of the theatrical meccas of humanity, London, I also got news that "Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch" is coming to Beijing to perform exactly at the same time I’m out of the country.

It is a ridiculuos coincidence, and it hurts ridiculously; I feel pain for missing the chance to see these two enormous works being performed at Beijing’s Tianjiao Theater: Café Müller (1978) and Frühlingsopfer (Le Sacre du Printemps) (1975).

I’ll miss her, Pina Bausch, the myth, I’ll miss it, Café Müller, the myth’s work; then I remember those words as the history of my sources, the history of my creative revolutions, revolutions which made me see performing arts with an open mind, creating with open arms and trying to embrace the sphere of totality. I’ve never seen them inside a theater, never on the stage, I learned about them first through books, through people depicting their experience, then through photographs, videos (like this one here) but, I repeat, never live.

Pina Bausch keeps teaching with a piece of art created 30 years ago, thirty years… Pina Bausch is a goddess. She is a goddess because she is a creator.

Now, I’m watching the Café Müller video you can see in this post, and I’m enjoying it, and I’m crying. It is sublime and is a source of personal discoveries. Spasms, painful spasms, beautiful spasms. Can you see those hands pledging? Those feet and their repetitive movements? Those embraces? I’m watching the structured chaos, the Tanztheater.

The name of Pina Bausch flourishes in the very tight orchard of the divines. And I’ll be at The Globe trying to recreate the 16th century.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Tamasaburo Bando: "Sagi Musume" 坂東玉三郎

I want to share my experience (til now limited to videos) with this wonderful "onnagata" performer, Tamasaburo, considered an artistic jewel in Japan, showing his dance performance of "Sago Musume" (坂東玉三郎), a Kabuki Theatre piece. These three videos are not mine, of course, they are part of one of Tamasaburo's admirer’s collection posted in Youtube (tiffenakou).

The first time I saw him (and every time afterwards) I had the same impression of beauty, perfection and quality I had when I first saw Kazuo Ono, one of the creators of Butoh dance, who has left a mark in my memory forever and who, now along with Tamasaburo, has become a reference point for what I consider the highest artistic level for a dramatic scene.

I’ve seen Kabuki on a few occasions, but I’ve never been as impressed as with Tamasaburo’s work on stage (yes, even having only seen his work on video); I can recognise the beauty and developed technique of the onnagata actors I’ve seen, but there is a latent difference between the idea of the sublime in art and the idea of a highly developed technique.

Kabuki itself, or Japanese theatre in general, may or may not be to your personal liking, but what I’m talking about is projection, capacity and talent, energy, presence and mastery.

In a couple of weeks I’ll get to see two Kabuki Theatre pieces in Beijing; the shows are advertised with the presence of an onnagata actor (whose name I don't know yet) who’s considered a living treasure of Japan. I’m impatiently waiting for the performance. It will be practically impossible to take video at the performance because of the theatre’s regulations, but I’ll share my experience through words.

Tamasaburo "Sagi Musume" 坂東玉三郎

Tamasaburo: video I "Sagi Musume" 坂東玉三郎

Tamasaburo: video II "Sagi Musume" 坂東玉三郎

Tamasaburo: video III "Sagi Musume" 坂東玉三郎

Tamasaburo’s official website is:

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Chinese Shadow Puppet Exhibition in Beijing.

As I promised here you have several photographs and two long videos (10 minutes each) with dozens of images of this Shadow puppet Exhibition at the National Museum of Art in Beijing.

During July and August were exhibited more than 500 of the most beautiful shadow theatre puppets from the museum collection; so, you will see pieces of art made by leather, color and imagination.

These puppets come from many areas of China mainly from those places with big Shadow Theater tradition: Sha'anxi, Fujian, Hunan and Beijing. Dates of manufacturing vary but we have many from the Qing dynasty (17th to 20th century) and many other from the republican and communism era.

We can enjoy very well these images as artistic objects, even without thinking about them as part of the performing art they were made for. You will also notice that many puppets got movable arms and legs, and those who didn't got them it was because they only served as "extras" or "scenery".

Monday, August 13, 2007

Chinese Shadow Puppet Theatre from Sha'anxi.

South Gate Space is a Performance venue in Dashanzi 798, the world famous Avant-gard Art complex in Beijing. It is not a conventional space; small and with little technical features, it’s mainly dedicated to putting on stage spectacles with music and dance groups from remote areas of the country, with only one objective: to preserve the Chinese cultural tradition without caring about their quality or their knowledge about performing arts. This is, from my point of view a “dangerous” philosophy.

I’ve seen some performances at this space and confirmed that only a few of them had knowledge on how to put the spectacle on stage; most of them were folk groups who perform during religious or social festivities in their villages, family singers and musicians, and some, only some, prepared artists. When watching or listening to those groups you, as spectator, change your point of view and try to see these people with pity, you smile and want to say “poor” native artists (most of them were poor farmers indeed) who came to Beijing to be seen by us, people who know what they’re worth. I know what I am saying is very hard but that is what I saw.

In contradiction to my criticism I must accept that thanks to South Gate Space I have seen several folk artists who would be almost impossible to reach from Beijing without traveling far away for hours to find them in their villages. Yes, a contradiction from someone who is trying to observe and criticize.

The show itself had a strange structure, four “scenes” of Shadow Puppet Theatre were combined with short performances by singers and dancers who didn’t have any connection to Sha'anxi province or to Puppet Theatre; our Shadow Theatre Troupe were the “hook” to attract public and to trap it to watch those new groups and singers. I have to say that it was shameful, their work was more a nuisance than anything. It seemed that only their “friends and families” were happy watching them.

About our Shadow Puppet Theatre Troupe, (also called Opera Puppet Troupe because of their use of Song, as any other Opera Theatre in China), I had some mixed opinions.

The troupe was led by 76 year-old Wei Zhenye, and it is said that the Wei family has worked with puppets since the Qing Dynasty. That does not mean a very long time, since the Qing Dynasty ended at the beginning of the 20th century, and the information provided about the family mentioned three generations, so they could have started their job around end of the 19th century or beginning of the 20th. The company has made its own fame through tours all over China and even some overseas ones to Europe; they have also performed in films by known Chinese directors.

Too many photographers inside the space, too many people (many of them walking and chatting) and the difficult structure of the spectacle were a big impediment for getting good material to show, but nevertheless I can offer to you three videos:

The first video shows how the Wei family prepared their puppets before the performance.

The two follow videos shows scenes of fighting and; it’s bizarre because of its large moments without movement, but when there was movement we could enjoy a good puppet performing technique.
Video: Beheading enemies

Video: scene of battle and death

The third video shows one “scene of love and singing”, almost without movement but with Opera singing. It was nice to listen to it but it is difficult to write about my appreciation for it, as it was sung in the Shaanxi dialect and it was impossible to understand any words of the songs.

Video: Scene of singing and love.

The Shadow Puppet Theatre performance was enjoyable, yes, and now I can add one more experience in my search for Chinese traditional performing arts, but it also pushed me to remember and even to see the videos of other performances I’ve already seen: the one in Wuzhen, the one in Siem Reap in Cambodia, or the 20 yuan-private performance I had in Xi’an (1) and, given my impossibility to criticize because of my poor knowledge about it, I must accept that the Wuzhen performance is the most memorable of them all.

(1) It is a pity I lost the material recorded in Xi’an.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Cambodia: A Circus Arena in Angkor.

Angkor was in my mind, before my visit in June 2007, an archeological site with astonishing temples considered one of the wonders of the world. It was that, of course. But Angkor was and is, even now and more and more, the capital city of a great empire with an impressive culture which influenced other groups all around the Indochina Peninsula: the Khmer culture. It had its own style in Art, Religion (even with Hinduism and Buddhism influence) and Urbanity.

Regarding Performing Arts, Khmer artistic manifestations were a wonderful source of fantasy and technical “codification”, as anyone is able to notice all over their buildings whose walls are full of carvings depicting dances and festivities.

Angkor was not only temples, it was a huge population (of around 2 million at its peak) living in a fastuous city. This people needed not only religion and food but spectacles as well, and one of them was the circus. The ancient city of Angkor had its own Circus Arena, similar to those Romans used to have: a large earthen surface surrounded by walls, on one side a place for spectators, on the other side “the arena” with towers and space for any event on it.
It is believed that the Khmer Circus consisted of different kind of spectacles with animals, actors and dancers, jugglers, acrobats, and tightrope-walkers. Like in Roman ages there were big scenes of hunting and war.

The principal attraction in this site is the “elephant wall”, a large 12th century wall with sculptures of dozens of elephants and several bas-reliefs depicting scenes of spectacles (1). Facing that wall and just imagining that world full of life I trembled with emotion. Today only ruins and stones lay there.

You will see a video showing just a part of my description. You’ll have to do your part, using the pause button and carefully watching every carving: then you will discover those acrobats, wrestlers, actors and dancers among hunting and war scenes. While seeing the towers you must imagine those ropes and their tightrope-walkers trying not to fall and doing anything to attract the spectators’ attention.

There is not much information about the Khmer Circus, but you can visit the Blog of a Cambodian company that is trying to come to life again with this spectacle:

(1) This and other walls of the Circus Arena in Angkor are 350 meters long, all of them carved with images. The video only shows carvings depicting those with performing arts scenes, but there are religious images in a high percentage as well.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

A video of Khmer Drama Dance "Lakhaon"

When I was traveling through Cambodia (June 2007), and staying in the small city of Siem Reap close to Angkor, I could see some traditional Khmer drama dances performed by Cambodian teenagers .

It is remarkable how these drama dances are similar to those performed in Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. It seems that all of them come from the same root, ancient Indian culture, and specially Hinduism with its different versions of the Ramayana.

Even their age and inexperience these professional teenager performers are doing something exceptional in this region, trying to preserve their traditional Performing Arts out of the big events in the Capital, Phnom Pen, at simple venues, like this restaurant for tourists in Siem Reap.

Please, notice how interesting are the codified movements of the dance, and music including the song in the middle.

To know a little bit more about Cambodian Performing Arts follow the link here.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Mark Chan and his "Dreaming of Kuanyin Meeting Madonna"

One of the reasons I visited Singapore this end of May was to attend the premiere of Mark Chan’s “Dreaming Kuanyin Meeting Madonna”. Mark is one Singapore’s most important musicians; he is a musician with a theatrical vision. First a painter and a swimmer, then a pop singer and a Chinese flute player, now a complete musician and composer.

“Dreaming Kuanyin Meeting Madonna” is, obviously, an attractive title, it provokes curiosity. Chan’s music was both recorded and live, he sang as well as acted, used video art on stage (Brian Gothong Tan) and dance (Arts Fission Company), everything pointed to a Multimedia Spectacle, and it was.

As part of the Singapore Arts Festival 2007 and performing at The Victoria Theatre, one of Singapore’s most historical theatres, the spectacle had a good number of spectators (the theatre was almost full to capacity) and I could see Dan Tun, the great Chinese composer, among the public.

The program offered a synopsis:

Kuanyin appears in a half-dram to an insomniac artist in a most foreign land.

She confronts him and says: “You ask me for a sign?

Again and again you ask! You artists are all the same, you teenagers are all the same…!”

The vision which I will give you is this.

This is your life. All its bumps, all its sadness, all its wonders and splendours, all its boredom.

This is your vision.

Do with it as you see fit.

But, remember, you are responsible for all that it becomes.

And the artist’s life and work forever changed.

Firstly, the insomnia leads to depression and panic attacks.

The inevitable breakdown requires great care, the learning of chants, prayers, sutras and mantras.

The recovery comes in time.

But it leads to a change of heart and to seeing the world in different ways.

It leads him back to the real world.

Where somewhere in between praying in the church of St Gervais and St Protais in Paris and watching Madonna at the Tokyo dome he realizes that life is a fine balance.

Clubbing, pushing for fame, for fortune, for his own space.

These are all important too but they are not everything.

He has to make a space where he can be both himself and be of use and service to others.

He sees that he must be shared freely with others.

Om mani Padem Hom – Caritas omnia suffert omnia credit omnia sperat omnia sustinet

Mark Chan doesn’t have any problems putting himself on stage and talking about his life, exposing his beliefs and fears (He said the goddess Kuanyin appeared in his room one bad night in Amsterdam). He talks about anything, speaking, criticizing, depicting his way of life in Europe, playing facing the spectators. Mark played without technique, he didn’t care, he was playing like a child, we knew he was in his own game and he enjoyed imitating the goddess that appeared in his dreams and changed his life. Kuanyin is the Chinese Madonna, Madonna, the singer, had just a little bit to do there, just as a point of reference in Mark’s story, everything finished (Chan’s crisis) with Mark as a spectator of Madonna’s Tokyo concert.

His music is sometimes sublime, with deep emotive and cultural roots, and sometimes incomprehensible, just like pop, like a commercial thing. Mark is definitely a complex artist, like his own professional and personal history. But I keep in my mind three pieces of his music from that evening, pieces which not only made me feel good but made me imagine and even create from listening to them.

Arts Fission, the dance company, gave the spectacle an interesting touch, but was almost outside of it. I felt most of the time that the choreography had too little to do there: nice movements, good dancing technique, interesting poses, and gestures, everything behind Mark’s story. It was something supplementary, not a fusion with Mark’s creation.

The video art was in part also illustrative, but for a moment during the spectacle it became an individual creation; then sometimes music and video were walking together, but another instant the video artist only used the music and then we enjoyed his own image. I don’t think the triple screen disposition was a good choice, it became monotonous; even the image play and the digital edition didn’t save us from feeling that monotony.

As a multimedia spectacle “Dreaming of Kuanyin Meeting Madonna” used some media, yes; as a story by Mark the spectacle had unity; but as a creation object it lacked unity in all its parts: sometimes they crossed, sometimes everyone had their own way, perhaps the process was too short for each one of the parts to fit with the others; they would already know it by now.

It’s a pity I can’t show material recorded by myself, but regulations in Singapore are very strict and even Mark was respectful of them, so the only thing I can offer as images are one promotional video that appeared in Youtube, one “social” photograph with Mark and me, and the link to Mark Chan’s site on My Space, where you can listen to his music.

Mark Chan's My Space site:

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