Drift Net By Choy Ka Fai

Drift

“Drift Net is an interactive performance exploring the concept of the blogging phenomenon. The performance uses unconventional instruments to interact with a performer’s body and the movement of the body is translated into quantitative data that manifest via the elements of sound, light and video. In collaboration with performers Rizman Putra, aspidistrafly, light artist Fujimoto Takayuki, sound artists Daito Manabe, Satoshi Horii, Motoi Ishibashi and web & print designer Torrance Goh. More at http://www.driftnet.sg. “

It is usually quite difficult to access the type of works that cross disciplines – in this case between sit-down theatre, sound art, performance art, multimedia projections – but the director of Drift Net, Ka Fai made it seem quite easy. The scenes crossed beautifully and seamlessly like fleeting day dreams, immersing the spectator in surround sight and sound. As the performance blurp suggested, the work seems to be about the internet, how it transcends global boundaries and affects how lives, personas are recorded and lived.

Perhaps this is what a multi-media performance, something which I imagine requires tremendous collaboration between the parties/techies involved, should be like. In the traditions of American visual artist Laurie Anderson, the mode of presentation connects with the subject matter, and us ‘digital immigrants’ or ‘digital natives’.

The impressive work puts together some of the most spectacular lighting sequences with LED lights, detailed mind-blowing HD projections on 6 screens (I think), live-action by performance artist Rizman Putra and electronic music to jolt brain waves. The memorable scene was the circular burst of LED lights, creating a ‘stop motion’ like strobe of the actor’s shadow. Perhaps choreographed with a particular narrative in mind, The audience shouldn’t have problem delving into their own experiences of the internet, to complement the artists’ impressions and screen grabs of teenage (angst) blogs. These revealed a particular psyche, which I felt like a trespasser. I did wonder if I belonged to the audience group the director had in mind, and if it was important at all that I felt this way.

On a really elemental level, the visual imagery was quite literal: running in the forest or beach to perhaps suggest freedom, the performer Rizman putting on different personal effects to suggests myriad of assumed identities on the internet.

The ending was perhaps too conclusive, and the soothing emotional live singing and acoustic guitar play, that suggested a sense of ‘loss’. It makes the work a lovely piece about ‘loss’ and ‘lament’, without touching on problems or solutions. The work is like an observation or survey, an artist’s insight into a particular phenomenon, nothing more. Like a visual poetry in motion through performance, projection lights and sound, the work has it’s beautiful moments, and instances of punctuation.

6 of 10 stars

Till Mar 31, Saturday. Tickets sold out for Friday Mar 30.

72-13, Theatreworks

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