Tragic Spirits

Choy Ka Fai

Performance HYBRID Box 2022/23

Singaporean artist Choy Ka Fai explores the experience and expression of bodies in their connection to new technologies. As artist-in-residence, he will be showing a work from his CosmicWander project series at the HYBRID Biennale.

Tragic Spirits is documentary dance performance inspired by the ancestral spirits of the Siberian, and their origins can be traced back to the Buryats people. The Buryats are nomadic communities that are truly trans-national and trans-border. Today, many of they resides in Siberia, Russia, Mongolia, Manchuria and Central Asia. The Buryats in Siberia have faced oppression throughout history and they seem to be eternally marginalised as a community. Following decades of Soviet suppression, the resilient people have crafted a narrative where their ancestral spirits (Ongon) return as tragic spirits, vengeful over being abandoned during socialist rule. For the Buryats, these tragic spirits are supernatural links to their forgotten past, of erasure and misfortunes.

The performance excavates the vibrations as Siberian shamans enter into trance and enact the oppressed ancestral spirit of the Ongon, who embodies the trauma of border and cultural memories of yesterday.

Duration: 1 hr.

Language: English

Concept, Documentary and Direction – Choy Ka Fai

Supernatural Presence – Bukha Noen

Dramaturgy – Tang Fu-Kuen

Choreography and Performance – Yurika Yamamoto
Sound design – Tseng Yun-Fang

Visual and Virtual Reality Artist – Maria Judova
3D Avatar and Programming – Brandon Tay, Huang Wei-Hsuan and Huang Wei

Light Design, Installation and Technical Direction – Ray Tseng
Costume Design –  Kayn Ken and Kuo Yu Ning
Research and Mediaturgy – Mi You
Research and Translation – Mitya Glavanakov

Shamanic Heritage Consultation — Palace of Heaven, Ulan Ude, Buryatia Republic

Project Manager – Mara Nedelcu

Visual Operator – Damjam Šporčić

Costume Assistance – Justyna Gmitrzuk

Tour Manager – Tammo Walter

The stage choreography was originally created with Wang Ning for Taipei Arts Festival 2020

Tragic Spirits is a project by Choy Ka Fai, co-commissioned by the Taipei Performing Arts Center and tanzhaus nrw Dusseldorf. The research process was supported by National Arts Councils Singapore, Kunststiftung NRW Germany and the VERTIGO project as part of the STARTS program of the European Commission, based on technological elements from Moving Digits.

Choy Ka Fai is a Berlin-based Singaporean artist. His multidisciplinary art practice situates itself at the intersection of dance, media art and performance. At the heart of his research is a continuous exploration of the metaphysics of the human body. Through research expeditions, pseudo-scientific experiments and documentary performances, Ka Fai appropriates technologies and narratives to imagine new futures of the human body.