10 & 11 July 2021
A project under our Labs programme
About Kai’s Process Page
~ Here at Feelers, we’ve been thinking a lot about our roles and relations to one another and to our artists in the Labs projects, as well as the processes we’re supporting (and in my case, also observing). These thoughts are driven by questions such as: how do we document the slow process of experimentation, capture the social, emotional, virtual and immaterial aspects of the process, and reflect on the process of creation and dialogue between the artist, the work, and their audiences? For me, it always begins from a subjective position, as a participant, but also as a companion to Kai throughout her process of developing 100 Advertisements - Now Online! – an online version of her IRL performance.
Through recording our discussions, collecting snippets of reflections, observing the responses of various test audiences through the rehearsals, what follows is an interpretation of Kai’s process as it unfolds. Much like the way Kai creates her performances in a manner that draws deeply on intuition, emotional connection, and personal story-telling, this page attempts to reflect, respond and sketch out (from a necessarily incomplete and individual perspective) the story of 100 Advertisements - Now Online! ~
Yun Teng, Documentation Lead
100 Advertisements by Eng Kai Er. Approx 90 mins.
Originally Kai’s graduation show piece, the IRL performance contained:
100+ advertisements, 1 pole, 4 personal stories, and the things in between them.
14 Sep 2020 - 20min short performance, Choreografische Werkstatt, Frankfurt LAB.
20-21 Nov 2020 - Online version (audio only), PACT Zollverein’s ATELIER No. 64.
19-21 Feb 2021 - 90min performance, Theaterlabor Gießen.
[10 January 2021]
Excerpts from chat with Kai and Kia Yee (Feelers)
Kai: I previously wrote about like making a Google Doc show. And kind of like, with the help of people in Feelers who might also want to do it. And I would imagine that actually, I also, like personally, I want to, I want to make an online version of my graduation show. So currently, my graduation show is a not-online show. And I will perform that in February. And then I want to, after finishing that one, focus on making an online version of it, which means that I will rehearse on the internet and stop rehearsing in a studio. I don't want to just film like a studio show and then stream it, this is my least preferred way of doing an online show. So I would still bear in mind the ideas I had with like, going on Google Doc and stuff, because that was an online show.
Kai: Um, Martin, I don't know if you've ever met Martin, but I live with Martin, my partner. And he wants to do some Kinect videos with a pole, which I have. So I have a pole and he has tech. I don't know how that will develop, because this is the most like, tech thing that I would be doing. Yeah. So if we need like more equipment or something, we could chuck that into the budget for this project, and then make sure that the Kinect pole thing ends up in this show. So that's one possible direction. But other than that, I don't actually expect to spend like on huge, like tech stuff? So we'll see, I'll update you.
Kia Yee: Yeah, other than that, I think on your end just be like trying to document your process as much as you're comfortable with, but also just so that I guess, on our end, we can keep track of the projects and how you work. And maybe if there were certain problems that came up in the process, you can also document that, and then cos there's something we are interested to, for us to learn about also. So if there are problems that came up, it’ll help us if you document that. And the documentation can be informal, it can be like your WhatsApp texts with someone or it can be like an email. Or if you scribble on a post-it you can just take a photo. So I am not particular about it lah, except that maybe we just try to keep it chronological as much as we can.
Kai: Okay, great, sounds good. Thank you.
KY: I hope your body feels better soon.
Kai: Yeah. Okay. Yes. Thank you for meeting me.
KY: Is it a long term injury, or is it a...? Are you okay?
Kai: No, like, crazy shit happened. I was on a pole in the studio in school, and then I was like doing stuff, and then the pole fell over. Very classic pole dance fail. So then when the pole landed on my foot, like on the ball of my foot, it stressed the ankle. I also landed on my knee. So I thought my knee was the thing that got busted, but actually the foot and the knee, the toes and the knee ended together and then the ankle was a bit like weird. So yeah, I mean, it's okay, I can still walk around and stuff. But it’s just like I need to be a little more careful. Yeah. I wish I had a video of it but I don’t.
KY: I'm just imagining is like… okay. I'll catch you over email lah, or if you want to do a call also can, whenever just let me know.
Kai: Thank you very much!
KY: Thank you, see you!
[27 Jan 2021]
Kai: I would like to share some footage from previous online shows that I have created/co-created, to give an idea of what a live, online show might look like:
Stay-Home Kitty-Cat Show
Approx 60 minutes. Performed 10-14 June 2020 at Digitale Theatermaschine (student festival organised at the Institute for Applied Theatre Studies, Gießen).
‘skin on screen’ by Dana Maxim and Eng Kai Er
‘skin on screen’ is an online performance developed during the corona lockdown. In this performance, we perform for only one audience at a time. The audience meets us through their
computer and we take them on a journey across Googledoc, YouTube, and Zoom. We write, read, and watch pre-made videos and hold silences together. We witness each other thinking, as cursors blink rhythmically on pages of not-yet written words. We co-create a choreography on our audience’s desktop, through the simultaneous opening of multiple windows. The performance is intimate, live, and requires participation.
kai’s cue sheets
“I just thought - maybe it's cool if these cue sheets (the cue sheet is what I look at, when I'm performing the show) can somehow also go into the Draftbacking process. Or, maybe you can just have a peep at them anyway and see if you think they're useful in some way for creating a (sensible? navigate-able?) archive. And of course - don't worry if you can't use them! They're available, if you want to use them in any way. I'll from now on also stick to just one googledoc for the entire cue-sheet evolution process (so that it's draftback-friendly).
following 11 Apr’s rehearsal, we spoke about other modes of documentation (external static cameras, Draftback capturing the Google Doc process, screen recordings), as well as how to collect reflections from audiences.
Kai tested out a larger audience, showing the 100 Advertisements book on Zoom as part of the performance, as well as static cam documentation.
kai's static cam
excerpt, screen recording (5-10 mins)
feedback from audiences ↓
_ Feeling overwhelmed and whether it needs to be offset for people who can’t keep track of all the different elements.
_ Kai: said that it’s something she takes into consideration and mentions in the google doc, like there’s no need to keep track of everything.
_ enjoyed chaos of Google Doc interactions but might be different if participants were strangers. what are the rules of engagement on the Google Doc?
_ Kai: Mentioned that there might not be a need to show her face, questioned if cameras should be off. Question about sound / silence and what other types of sound there can be.
_ Question for Kai: what were her intentions or arc for the piece?
_ Kai: To develop an online performance space that feels live, composition experiment with online elements. Also to entertain. And to make it easy for people to enter, join and participate
_ Comment: Kai’s works have a quality that is about the journey that the audience goes through together with her. It’s about the way that she tells the story, and the devices used usually emerge from the story that she tells. It’s about sustaining the journey that the audience takes with the performer. Mentioned that they see a thread to do with the body, but would like to see a greater connection.
_ Questioned the juxtaposition of the chosen devices with the story, especially the ads. Enjoyed seeing the visualisation of the ads in the illustrations.
_ Agreed and specifically asked about the relationship between composition and content. They found the mixture of live and recorded components engaging, but asked how the form related to the content. How do the different elements clash and resonate with each other? And what are the relationships between the different blocks on the screen (youtube videos, google doc, zoom.etc)
_ Question to Kai: what is the position of the audience?
_ Kai: as co-performers, improvisation partners. Also as host, as kindergarten teacher. Improvising together.
_ Question: About the landing platform, and whether that can be Google Doc instead of Zoom, in that the body is postured differently when encountering Zoom as a starting platform (hangups tied to Zoom). Where do you go and where do you come back to? (moving across platforms)
Final rehearsal before the shows, Kai tested out a new section of the performance and other modes of documentation.
kai’s static camera documentation
image from test audience contributed on Google Doc
Saturday, 10 Jul 2021, 4-5.30pm with 5 participants
Sunday, 11 Jul, 2021, 4-5.30pm with 15 participants