[In]finite Octagon 无涯穹苍 – The First Milestone Presentation
ABOUT the film [In]finite Octagon 无涯穹苍 – The First Milestone Presentation
64 blue and white inflatable pieces created by Sculptor Yeo Chee Kiong formed a modern-day bagua installation -- setting the stage for face-off of the Elements locked in tumultuous dances towards the irrevocable course of tipping point in nature.
Filmed on locations in a disused fish farm nestled among wild vegetations and an abandoned old school hall, [In]finite Octagon is a lush film using dance, new sounds of traditional instruments, and a fluid art installation to reinterpret the legend of the Eight Immortals through abstract, contemporary attributes.
[In]finite Octagon is the first of four milestone presentations under Project Search 8 Immortals– a trans-water arts odyssey. The six-year research project (started in 2018) is inspired by the Chinese grassroots legend with the same name [八仙过海, 各显神通].
ABOUT PROJECT SEARCH 8 IMMORTALS
The six-year research project retrieves components from the original legend Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea (八仙过海) and develops them into contemporary attributes with modern day concerns. The symbol of the ocean encompassing life and culture enables the four milestones to address critical concerns in modern time. The topic of each of the four milestones are: [In]finite Octagon, Imagine Ocean, Super Raft, and No Man Island.
Each of the milestone would be preceded by a creative hackathon where experts from arts and non-arts professional disciplines as well as industry would gather to explore theme related material. This creative process enables art making potential for the project collaborators. In 2019 the hackathon partnered Maritime Port Authority Singapore (MPA) with one key MPA participant, a former seafarers and other marine scientists from the Tropical Marine Science Institute (TMSI) of National University of Singapore. The remaining milestones of the project will also initiate a new partnership with the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre.
The first milestone [In]finite Octagon presented as a film reflects on a new bagua 八卦 -- the Eight Trigram (a microcosm of the world) where climate change is disrupting the equilibrium of the elements in nature. The disruption allows the artists opportunities to update the ancient bagua in the era of Anthropocene. The bagua also symbolises the Eight Immortals where each one is assigned to a specific element in the octagonal diagram.
BAGUA 八卦 -- THE EIGHT TRIGRAM
COLOUR CODE OF THE ELEMENTS
THE SPIRIT OF CROSS-DISCIPLINE & CROSS-INDUSTRY COLLABORATIONS
The Eight Immortals in the original legend are a motley group of individuals ranging from aristocrats, intelligentsia to grassroots folks who became immortals because they want to do good for the people. Adapting similar spirit, Project Search 8 Immortals not only seeks cross-discipline collaborators, but also explores the possibilities of cross-industry partnership to expand artistic practice into other professional disciplines. Already the project is collaborating with Maritime Port Authority Singapore (MPA) and Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre (SCCC).
Key artistic collaborators of the first milestone [In]finite Octagon includes project curator and choreographer Angela Liong, sound art and new music composer Joyce Beetuan Koh, sculptor and visual artist Yeo Chee Kiong. Another collaborator New Zealand intermedia artist and artistic director of Good Company Arts, Daniel Belton has created a 15-min motion-graphic film INFIN8OCTAGON with the Arts Fission dancers during his Singapore residency in 2018. Both the films [In]finite Octagon and INFIN8OCTAGON are to be streamed at SISTIC Live from 8 May – 31 July 2021.
BRIEF PROFILE OF OUR ARTISTIC DIRECTOR AND KEY COLLABORATORS
Angela Liong, Artistic Director
Angela is a prolific dance-maker with a large body of works that has shaped the distinctive dance profile of ARTS FISSION since the company’s inception in 1994. She often appropriates form and methodology from cross-discipline sources to innovate new ways of dance making.
Arts Magazine (1999) called Angela “Singapore’s shaman of dance” for her penchant of drawing material from cultural heritage and mythologies to address the human spirit in her dance work. Angela remains close to this creative practice by continuous referencing traditional cultures and making them new and relevant to modern times. Angela has created many site works in unconventional public spaces to solicit place memory from the urban public through immersive dance experience. Her dance works for ARTS FISSION have been presented regionally in and internationally.
Spanning a dance career of more than 35 years, Angela has turned her professional practice into hybrid dance creations that go beyond traditional performance making. She leads dancers and staff of ARTS FISSION in designing movement-based projects to enrich the everyday as well as empower wellness for people and communities.
Her foray into research and development of dance intervention by using movement to reinforce kinetic memory has resulted in Everyday Waltzes for Active Ageing – a wellness program that benefits seniors and people with dementia as well as extended facilitation training for eldercare professionals.
Angela is the recipient of the 2009 Cultural Medallion, Singapore’s highest arts and cultural accolade. She continues to create new works with ARTS FISSION on diverse issues that impacts life in modern Asia.
Joyce Beetuan Koh, Composer
Award-winning composer, Joyce Koh is Senior Lecturer and Vice Dean of Interdisciplinary Studies and Academic Enhancement, Office of Academic Affairs, at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts since 2014.
After twenty years of professional practice in Europe, she returned to Singapore in 2007 to head the music faculty at the School of the Arts. She was responsible for the design and implementation of the Music Specialist curriculum and had spearheaded a 4-year Integrated Arts Programme at the School. Subsequently, in 2011, she joined the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and the National Institute of Education as a part-time lecturer. She also holds a range of advisory roles for the Museum Education Advisory Panel at the National Gallery Singapore, National Arts Council of Singapore, Singapore Workforce Development Agency, and the Asia-Europe Foundation.
Joyce Koh has a creative output ranging from concert music, dance collaborations, multimedia production, to interactive sound installations. Originating from her interests in architecture and interdisciplinarity, her work explores notions of sonic canvas, space and theatre of music. As described by the International Piano Quarterly, her sound world “engages the intellect and requires a different approach”.
Highlights of her works include “Tai” (orchestra), “Divergent Plates” (accordion concerto), “Isskimmer” (quintet), “Were we here?” (theatre of music), “The Waste Land” (theatre), "On the String" (multimedia), "The Canopy" (sound installation), "Hearing Lines" (audio-visual), "Fire Monkey" (site-specific dance), Infinite Octagon (dance film) and "Sounding Body" (interactive dance-music).
Versatile and collaborative, Joyce has a wealth of experience working with musicians, choreographers, theatre-makers, artists, writers, philosophers, filmmakers, and architects. They include Hong Kong New Music Ensemble, Australia Song Company, De Ereprijs Netherlands, Ensemble Reconsil Austria, France Résonance Contemporaine, Ensemble Contemporaine de Montréal, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Hungarian Radio Orchestra, Norwegian Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Dingyi Chinese Music Ensemble, Singapore Arts Fission Dance Company, Singapore Raw Moves, Steve Dixon, Delia Prvacki, Yeo Chee Kiong, Étienne Turpin, Yeo Wei Wei, Good Company Arts New Zealand, and ESKYIU Studio Hong Kong.
She has an accomplished record of performances at international festivals, notably International Computer Music Conferences, International Symposium on Electronic Arts, World Stage Design, Biennale Musiques France, Sir Henry Wood Promenade UK, London Spitalfields Festival, Melbourne Arts Festival, Sydney InsideOut Festival, Singapore Arts Festival, Singapore Dan:s Festival, and Soundislands Festival.
She has been invited as Composer-in-Residence at École Nationale de Musique, Montbéliard, France (2006), Herrenhaus Edenkoben, Germany (2004), and Theatre Works, Singapore (2001). Her publications include 2 piano works published by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, UK; and proceedings of the International Computer Music Conference and the International Society of Electronic Arts.
Joyce Koh studied composition in the UK and France as well as attended conducting courses with Diego Masson and Peter Eötvös under scholarships from the Foyle Foundation at Dartington UK and Centre Acanthes France respectively.
Yeo Chee Kiong, Sculptor
Yeo Chee Kiong is a contemporary sculptor and installation artist who is fascinated with the language and spatial relationship between object, space and authorship. His work destabilises the familiar notions of spatial proportions and perspectives, whilst examining the human conditions in the construction of an extended surreal world.
As an alumnus of the Glasgow School of Art (UK) and the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Singapore), his list of conferred awards and commendations include the NAFA Distinguished Alumni Medal for his outstanding achievement in Singapore art scene (2016), SG50 Commemorative Public Sculpture Competition, National Museum of Singapore (2015), JTC Green Core Public Sculpture Open Call (2014), the LTA Downtown Line Art Competition, ExpoStation (2012), Legacy Sculpture for Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Village Sculpture Competition, Grand prize for the APB Foundation Signature Art Prize (2008), NAC Young Artist Award (2006), 14th Asian Artists Award, VSC Fellowships (2006 – 2007), Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts 68th Founder’s Day Commendation Award (2006) and Grand prize for the 2nd CDL Singapore Sculpture Award (2005). Yeo was also short-listed as one of the 25 outstanding finalists amongst a total of 574 international entries whilst participating in the International Competition for Young Sculptors in Milan, Italy in 2006.
Yeo’s work has also been part of a number of internationally recognised group exhibitions, biennales and symposiums, including "Sculpture Survey 2018", 35th Annual Exhibition, Gomboc Gallery, Perth, 14th Qita Asian Sculpture Exhibition, FumioAsakura Sculpture Museum, Japan (2018), Keelung Harbour Biennale, Taiwan (2018), Venice Biennale, Italy (2017), 3rd FORMOSA Sculpture Biennial, Taiwan (2017), Suide International Stone Sculpture Symposium, China (2017), Art in The Forest, Hanoi, Vietnam (2017), Asia Sculpture Exchange Exhibition, Japan(2016), Sculpture @ Silk Road,Dun Huang, China (2016), Taiwan International Miniature Sculpture Exhibition, Taipei (2015), Zhuo Zheng Ya Ji, Suzhou, China (2015).
He was the recipient of the Dr. Mary Doughty Smith Scholarship at Glasgow School of Art and John Kinross Scholarship at Royal Scottish Academy.
In the course of his career, Yeo has held several appointments including Acting President of the Sculpture Society (Singapore) (2014), Chairman of Telok Kurau Studios Management Committee (2014 - 2016), Advisor, Norwegian Collaborative Organisation for Contemporary Art Abroad, London (2011 - 2015), Committee Member of Public Art Appraisal Committee, National Heritage Board, (2010 - 2013); Member of Curriculum Development Advisory Committee of NAFA, Fine Art Department (2011 - 2014)(2018-2020), Panel Member of Young Artist Award’s Specialist Panel for Visual Art, National Arts Council (2012, 2013, 2016), Panel Member of Cultural Medallion Specialist Panel for Visual Art, National Arts Council (2018). President of the Sculpture Society (Singapore) (2005 – 2009, 2015 - 2019).
Yeo is currently the Visiting Assistant Professor, Sculpture Department, National Taiwan University of Arts.
Daniel Belton (Good Company Arts), Intermedia artist and Choreographer
Daniel Belton is an internationally celebrated dance film-maker, choreographer, Co-founder and Artistic Director of Good Company Arts. He was a principal dancer with renowned Danish choreographer, Kim Brandstrup’s Arc Dance Company working from London during the 1990’s. During his performance career, he collaborated and performed with many contemporary dance companies, including Douglas Wright, Lindsay Kemp, Irek Mukhamedov, Aletta Collins, Vicente Saez and Elio Gervasi.
Turning his focus towards choreography, Daniel established Good Company Arts with designer-producer Donnie Harrisson in 1997. Good Company Arts create live events and installations through the fusion of multiple art forms. The company has established a reputation as innovators, bringing powerful multi-media arts experiences to theatres, galleries, museums, media and architectural facades, cinemas, planetarium, web and VR.
Highlights include the Prague Quadrennial, World Stage Design Festival, Cinedans, Festival Internacional de la Imagen and ISEA, Dance on Camera New York, Genius Loci Weimar International Video Mapping Festival, Romaeuropa Festival, Zentrum Paul Klee, N.O.W DanceSaar Internationales Tanzfestival, Museo de Arte Moderno de Bueno Aires, Attakkalari India Biennial, Oceanic Performance Biennial Rarotonga, Arts House Singapore, Aarhus Festival Denmark, Royal New Zealand Ballet, Xintiandi Festival Shangai, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Auckland Art Gallery, Tempo Festival Auckland, Te Papa Tongarewa National Museum of New Zealand and the National Museum of Singapore.
He is an accomplished multi-media arts practitioner with 30 years of experience working in and researching film, cinematography, digital post-production techniques, projection mapping, motion capture, fine art, sound, and design. He was the recipient of Creative New Zealand’s Choreographic Research Residency at Otago University 2004, visiting Media Artist in Residence at Massey University 2008, and Arts Council of New Zealand’s Choreographic Fellow for 2010. In 2015 he was made an Arts Foundation of New Zealand Arts Laureate. In 2019 Daniel and Good Company Arts were awarded first place in the prestigious Sino X Niio Illumination Art Prize, Hong Kong.