OzAsia – SuperEverything – Space Theatre – 4K

supereverything-580One of the highlights of this 2013’s OzAsia Festival is this performance by UK’s pioneering audio-visual artists The Light Surgeons, who have masterfully fused their art with Malaysian artists and musicians Chor Guan, Hands Percussion and Rhythm in Bronze to perform SuperEverything.

This live audio-visual performance exploded across Space Theatre’s stage to sift through the relationship between identity, ritual and place in relation to Malaysia’s past, present and future. Revealing the paradoxes between tradition and modernity, it delves into the question of our identities and how our complex differences unite us.

Set in a stage that is mainly industrial and almost surgical in its mood, the fusion of layered images, speech and music is almost hyper-stimulating. Three layers of the stage are composed of the following: first, a backdrop of vivid photographic images of rural and urban Malaysia, the second is the live performance of the artists with music, lights and shadows with the discussed theme in each of the layers, and the last is a video-documentary of people representing the different levels of Malaysian society, speaking about the questions of history, race and culture, urbanism and progress, materialism and effects to environment, and how the modern worldview affects the identity of the country.

Each layer of the performance is both stunning and stimulating. By a thin line, the details in the backdrop, the almost-impossible play of lights and shadows (where shadows should not exist), the three-dimensional production of sounds –like vegetable chopping by a performer while the interviewees talk about food, for example– and the images in the front screen could almost distract and tempt the audience to just linger on one aspect. However, the unity of the dimensions all added up to the one impressive performance, wherein the significant pauses and lingering repetitive audio invites the audience to reflect on the issues discussed while appreciating the visual and auditory feast.

The details are very apt to the title of the performance: from the remarkably vivid photographs, to the music produced from a fascinating fusion of modern electronic and traditional Malaysian musical instruments, and the play of shadows interspersing within the stage and on the screen layers, to the videography on an almost transparent screen it is indeed a super feast for the senses.

SuperEverything is a project that aims to make its audience contemplate our shared human story and to reveal out collective commonality. From human relationships to the relationships of humans to their environment, the performance explores our everyday rituals to reveal what unites and divides us. It is a ‘journey through Malaysia’s past, to understand its present and question its future’.

Although set in Malaysia, the perennial questions of identity, roots and society as well as questions about the impact of modernism to the future society are universal concerns that connect us as humans.



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