a snake in the house means the family will never want
Performance, 27 min
A multi-sensory performance blending visual art/sculptural costuming, dance & live electronica, the title of the work is based on an old Chinese proverb, and the departure point for articulating lived experiences & intimacies as Asian diaspora with cultural misunderstandings, intergenerational healing & transformation.
Opening with an audio voicenote of the artist’s mother reflecting on overwork, xenophobia & cultural invisibility through the semiotics of the snake & ingrained tendency of Hek Fu 吃苦 (transl.: eating bitterness), the song of the declining dialect of Toisanese forms the background to which the duo onstage perform a repetitious choreography suspended between work and ritual. Movement eventually departs into sensuous animalism, exploring what liberatory potential is there when we learn from & embody more than being human. Wearing sculptural costuming illuminated by light, and shifting form with the dancer’s movements, the performance projects transformational imaginings of cultural & futuristic hybridity.
This iteration has been developed in collaboration with choreographer & performer
Choreography & performance: Monica Tolia & Ting-ning Wen
Sound composition: Monica Tolia
Voiceover: Fong Shao Ying
Writing: Monica Tolia & Shao Ying Fong
Toisan Transl.: Shao Ying Fong & Vince Ng
Dramaturgical support: Phoenix Tanner
Premier 10 June 2022: Resolution Festival, The Place (London)
INTERVIEW - CHINESE ARTS NOW (CAN)
INTERVIEW - DANCE ART JOURNAL
VIDEO STILLS FROM PERFORMANCE