Online Research Residency 2021/22

November 11, 2021–February 10, 2022 (online)
Support was provided for creativity-focused research by artists working in and outside Japan in the fields of dance or performance. The participants engaged with different themes by conducting literature reviews and fieldwork, and then taking part in sessions to share those processes with the other artists. Online workshops and final presentations were held to share the artists’ distinct practices, methods, and training with the general public.

Participating Artists
Zander Porter (United States / Germany)

Zander Porter is a core member of XenoEntities Network, a platform for discussion and experimentation focusing on intersections of queer, gender, and feminist studies with digital culture and tech. For this residency, Porter explored what ze calls “3M0T1NG,” examining the human face to explore the extent to which it is possible to “freeze” that and if it simultaneously becomes an “unfreezable” image. Ze drew on familiar text symbols like kaomoji and emoticons to find the empathies that emerge between more complex expressions and technology, and attempted to rediscover emotions that transcend the individual.

Yang Zhen (China)
A choreographer and artistic director of Red Virgo, Yang Zhen observes communities and cultures attached to certain places, and focuses on the aesthetic relationships and existence of individuality and collectivism in various societal contexts. For the residency, Yang visited Yokohama’s Chinatown for his Jasmine Town project, conducting research on the Chinese community that lives there and investigating their relationship with society. He presented Jasmine Town as a work-in-progress at Yokohama International Performing Arts Meeting in late 2021 and developed his concept ahead of the planned full performance of the work in 2022.

Nanako Matsumoto (Japan)
Nanako Matsumoto is the co-artistic director of the performance duo team chiipro. Based on her physical experience of dancing classical ballet in her childhood, she collects personal and collective memories with her own body and reconstructs them into performances. For this residency, she undertook research on contact improvisation and for making a choreography text to develop her concept of an “imaginary waltz,” which is the idea of dancing with an imaginary person or thing. Utilizing the online environment, Matsumoto held a workshop for dancing an imaginary waltz with participants based on the choreography text.

Pat Toh (Singapore)
Choreographer and performer Pat Toh sees the body as a place for experimentation in order to verify the reverberations, effects, and trauma of ideology and biopower, and creates work that adopts approaches from theater, dance, and live art in a transdisciplinary way. For this residency, she focused on breathing underwater. Drawing on her experience of freediving and scuba diving with an oxygen tank, she objectively reinterpreted the human act of breathing. Along with exploring ways to expand her own body in underwater conditions, Toh conceived a large respiratory system using devices that expand our respiratory organs, and reconsidered the relationship between the body and its environment.

Pijin Neji (Japan)
Choreographer and dancer Pijin Neji is the artistic director of neji&co. His work includes solo dances that adopt microscopic perspectives and approaches on his own body, and choreography that deals materially with the body of the dancer. For this residency, Neji attempted to reinterpret the word “mourning,” conducting research and reframing the situation of long-term waiting that has continued during the pandemic—such as waiting for the vaccine or artists waiting to be selected for a grant—as a kind of contemporary form of mourning. He developed a work that visualizes a choreography of waiting for the opportunity to act as well as the process of recovering from mourning.

Jang He-jin (South Korea)
Jang He-jin is the artistic director of He Jin Jang Dance. She searches for contemporary concepts of the body and its traces through the four life stages of birth, aging, illness, and death, and interprets the body’s responses to unescapable human frailty as a dance of the nervous system. For this residency, she combined dance with a microphone that swings like a pendulum to explore the relationships between the body and power, pattern and rhythm, and the nervous system and ghosts. With a focus on spirits and consciousness, Jang continued her research and expanded her interests to include the concepts of biocentrism, which views consciousness as central to relationships between materials, and biohacking, which externally hacks the nervous system.

Video Archive

The Saison Foundation extends its sincere gratitude to the following Legal Entity Support members and for their generous contributions (as of March 2023/in alphabetical order):