In a future where robots will replace 30% of our jobs, what’s on the cards for the two choreographers in the clinic?
Choy Ka Fai imagines a reality where choreography and technology go hand in hand, generating choreography through apps with the support of artificial intelligence.
We find ourselves in the dance clinic, looking like an expensive private medical facility where Ka Fai plays a handsome, stylish and well-spoken man; he looks like a hologram version of himself, set on a clinical-white background declaring ” I wanted to be Jérôme Bel”. But he is not, alternately he embraces a decade of non-dance culture in contemporary dance and moves towards a scientific performance analyzing the brain waves of audience members and artists.
There are two patients, choreographers. Florentina Holzinger is patient Z looking like she walked out of a rave and into the clinic. Outspoken and provocative she inserts a 10-inch nail through her nose gently clicking a hammer on the nail. The sounds are devastating and chilling in an effort to contemporize ballet, and the audience instantly retracts in their seats. In fact, I had to force my eyes open clutching my insides.
Darlane Litaay is the second patient in the clinic, showing up naked with a phallic wooden pipe covering his penis pointing upwards as if airlifted from his hometown in West Papua to the clinic.
Two audience members are invited to sit on stage and plug in their headpieces with new readings on Holzinger’s performance. She loses some clothes and dances around the stage like a stripper, getting utterly close to the audience. Invading all private space and raising the interest levels to an all-time high – visible in the graphics projected on the back wall. The state of Singapore doesn’t allow full frontal naked bodies on stage, so Ka Fai asks Holzinger to face the back instead, sensually spreading her legs wide-out to play with thread in her vagina – the irony of this maneuver circumventing censorship brings a loud laugh from the seats.
Darlane Litaay is seeking support to get into a trance, and we get a performance of a lifetime sending shivers down the spine of this reviewer. Technology assists this performance with colorful waves of light in a smoky white room. We can see Litaay, on the one hand, disappearing in the cloud and on the other reaching an outer state of mind.
Ka Fai proposes a bridge between choreography and science. Harnessing data from audience and artists; measuring success, intention, and emotions in the performance, backed by the artificial intelligence technology Ember Jello.
He lends a helping hand to artists achieving their goals with real-time scientific readings. Dance clinic takes advantage of real-time experiments and reactions, delighting the audience. Dance doctor is witty and charming recommending a reality overwhelmed by technology. However, the performance could not exist if it weren’t for the arousing and intense performances of Holzinger and Litaay – humanizing the aseptic white stage.
Dance Clinic is the kind of performance you instantly want to watch a second time; sadly I watched the last one.