apocalypse prd 岭南启示录 took place in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China, as part of an artist residence at Park19 Artists Studios on May 14th, 2006. The residency and performance/installation was assisted by Long Yunna, Ou Ning, Cao Fei, and the Australia-China Council. apocalypse prd 岭南启示录 is on francesdath.info
I’m going on holiday. For more than a week, maybe even two weeks… One place I’ve always wanted to visit, mainly because it has a huge mountain there, is 玉龙雪山 Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, near 丽江 Lijiang, or to give the full name, 丽江纳西族自治县 the Lijiang Naxi Autonomous Region. Anyway. Holiday. Art. I’m staying at the Lijiang Artist Studio, and will be showing some stuff from Guangzhou, and extermination.
I’m not planning on blogging, checking my email, taking my phone or iPod until I return. Enjoy the silence.
Still more stuff is turning up in the post-show blur across the internet. On the night of the dress rehearsal, a moderately stressful Saturday, I had the good fortune to advise someone they could either not stand near the video feeds or leave. I think that’s where I got the reputation as a megalomaniac. Lucky she decided to stay, or the immortal beautiful photos of Emile, Paul and I looking like the winners in a Norwegian Black Metal vs Canton Demon tag-team slapdown would not be in existence. Those photos along with an interview where I think I slag off most contemporary dance (sometimes I need an assistant to tell me to shut up) will appear in the May 27th edition of 周末画报 Modern Weekly.
Everyone has gone. Emile is back in Melbourne now, and tomorrow is making Guangzhou sounds at St Jerome’s. Remember, each ‘zou’ is 2 kuai.
Emile Zile returns from China…
playing “…cantonese pop, cantonese opera, cantonese karaoke, field recordings from hong kong and guangzhou: buskers, thunderstorms, temple worship and street vendor calls. all material is sourced from my current trip to china.
Paul and Emile left last night after a fine dinner with everyone at 1920, the German café on 沿江路 Yanjiang Lu. I’m a bit sad and have gone from mental-pain amounts of work to a dead stop in the space of a couple of hours. There’s still much catching up to do now before going to Hong Kong on Thursday for a video screening at the Fringe Club, and much to write about 岭南启示录 Apocalypse PRD. It’s been a complete blast, certainly one of my life’s highlights. So until I get things more in order, here’s some links to the mess of 岭南启示录 Apocalypse PRD littering the internet. If you have seen any other stuff, especially blog posts, could you email me the links please?
Also, 岭南启示录 Apocalypse PRD and the whole Guangzhou project from the last three months now has its own category, weee!!!
Stuff from us:
Emile Zile – red-beard canton video demon Emma Z. – Guangzhou superstar and 岭南启示录 Apocalypse PRD performer Nikita – makeup makeup makeup. bikinis!!!
Yesterday was one of those days I really wanted to not happen. It reminded me of a few other pre-show days I’ve had that turned me into a despotic ogre, exactly not the point of making art. Today though was one long and fun, strange piling of six weeks work into something that tomorrow will alive.
Things went, make-up got applied, lights lit, video and televisions and projector cradles made of plastic ties, high heels, bikinis, stuff, loud loud loud grinding metal … a dress rehearsal. Some things still to do, like get the lights working properly, but it’s 3am now, I not going to get time to do things like shave my legs, so I’m off to bed. More sometime soon-ish.
The last week has been a conscious block for me when it has come to choreographing the bikini-high-heel dance-a-thon/showgirl-on-nembutal-and-acid bit. Simply because actually choreographing steps, and-1-2-3-4 … and do-this-now-do-this-next is … I dunno, I think not choreography. The choreographic exactitude and Baroque dimensional complexity of ballet for me is always a wonder, and still intellectually and emotionally one of my primary influences. But to actually make steps and assign counts and structure, I have a vast and serious aversion to that lately.
In making stuff that is mostly drawn from instruction sets that gets pulled into coherency through repetition, I’m working in a way that is far more satisfying choreographically, and profoundly more interesting and involving as a performer and as an audience, but quite inimical to the idea of temporal, procedural and mechanical choreography. So there is a barely-conscious, long-term attempt to actually choreograph, that is, to make concatenations of movement using specific vocabularies in a way that has this pre-historic ballet intellectualisation of body-as-(Baroque)-machine, and do it in a way that owes more to present-day methods of doing things, that is to say, executing code.
The showgirls part though… after trying various methods of bribery, coercion, threats, mental anguish, on myself, it was all too apparent I had no interest in choreographing. Watching everyone get up and turn Park19 into a mosh-pit to Personality Crisis was all I wanted to do, so once again it’s a process of working out what works, and manipulating variables until it kinda works. It’s raw, possibly a disaster, but at 2 minutes it rides that edge between me going, “ow! I can’t look, what am I doing???”, and wanting to get up and thrash around too. I guess if it entertains me that’s mostly the point, no?
Meanwhile, Nikita and Fangyuan were turning Emile and Paul into Cantonese Opera Demons.
We’re doing a lot of just running sections now, accruing detail and coherency through repetition, but still to finish are the 狸猫换太子 Canton Opera bit and the New York Dolls showgirl chorus-line bit, as well as slinging it all into one thing. The Caonton Opera bit has ascended to the Khanate point now, and is getting quite strange with extra-Baroque Canton Opera demonic gestures… Mostly though, the point of last night was costumes. And shoes. And makeup. And Canton Opera headdresses and weapons. Either I’m giving away too much here, or it’s going to make you want to come even more, anyway who needs publicists when you have girls and boys in bikinis and high-heels? Photos from Emile Zile who knows what horror is, in APOCALYPSE P.R.D. ///
Paul Emmanuel, who I have spent most of tonight making act like a stooge for Beelzebub has decided to remain in Guangzhou forever… I think it was the bikinis that did it. To celebrate, and as part of our whole Apocalypse thing residency at Park19, he’s showing some video he made while going quietly mad on Baijiu in the back of the 8th floor.
don’t try and escape you’ll be shot puts painting as a compulsion in a scatalogical context of attention disorders. It takes the international artist residency and re-presents it as a real-time video transition effect between paint and place, adopting the spectacle of the international art exhibition as a 16 minute simulation of painting.
It’s mental week now, doing the costume shopping, organising lots of little things that sprout up like an Oxalis frenzy. After the shopping fun at Liuxingqianxian yesterday, and an impromptu hour of not-much-to-do-but-take-a-nap-laah! we started on 貍貓換太子, the much-loved Cantonese opera full of deceit, intrigue, death and supernatural scary ghost women with long blue tongues.
Much of what I’m doing in 岭南启示录 Apocalypse PRD comes from hell, but I’m trying to not recreate what I did there, re-stage something that belongs elsewhere. I think one of the main interests for me in choreographing is not making steps, which is both easy and mostly meaningless, anyone can string together a bunch of moves, an endless concatenation that in itself means nothing and is the choreographic equivalent of gibberish. What caught my fascination when I was doing all the computer-generated choreography up until late 2003 was coding instructions that once complied would be coherent within themselves (or to force needlessly a coding analogy: debugged), yet every time the instruction set was run would produce different results.
So my thinking continued onto the idea of re-staging a performance, which is a somewhat common occurrence. Mostly when transferring an existing work to a new company or group of dancers, the learning is done from a video of the performance, and once mostly recovered, some ‘cleaning’ is done by someone, the choreographer or an original dancer. Seeing a couple of my pieces get the re-staging treatment, I was privately dismayed by the loss of detail, by how something that once was as sensible as lines of code became decorative and with no understanding of what was being done and where it came from.
Besides this choreographic limbo, remounting a work in this way always leads to degradation of movement itself, things are not clear on video, perspective is distorted, approximations are made. Against this is the phantasmic perfection of both the original piece in itself and what is seen on the video-captured copy. For me this means there is really no original in any useful sense, nor is there much point in re-staging a work this way. The result has the appearance of something, but in fact empty.
The real time-consuming aspect of making a new performance is in the writing and debugging of the instructions. More interesting for me then, and for the performers also would be to receive a full instruction-set and execute these, apparently making a new work, but actually only running code. For 岭南启示录 Apocalypse PRD this means a pile of videos, some music, some old artworks, a couple of texts, and certain methods of devouring these which can be written in procedural, human-readable language. All this could be given to the dancers in a neat package, for them to be let loose on for a couple of weeks, followed by the ‘cleaning’ period. Time-wise this would be no different from a normal remount, but in terms of making a new and living performance which was not a copy of anything – even the first, ‘original’ being merely one iteration of the instructions – a performance in which the danger, chaotic-ness, possible-disasters were not recycled mimicry, this for me both as a choreographer and dancer is far more engaging.
South-East Asia’s biggest sex market that is, though I always expected Thailand, or Korea or Japan who have the first three places when it comes to matters of size, located off 战前路 Zhanqian Lu, near the main station, and like all main stations in all cities I’ve been, the part of town I have a mental border around labeled ‘dodgy’, though that is not the word that springs to mind to describe a meter high fat, erect schlong radiating a smutty deep orange glow.
Really I didn’t know whether to choose the walls of full-leather masks, ball-gags, restraints, harnesses and designer ropes, or the shelves of 20cm high manga-porno models, or the endless fields of dildos, vibrators, plugs, jelly-vibrating-crustations, things to insert into other things… So I settled on Orgaster! super vibration!, something about skinship scandal g-spot pornography? Is this turning into one of those sex-spam blogs? The other option was a poster of 鄧小平 Deng Xiaoping.