TwoScholars Presents: Performing Water Interfaces with Elements of Colonial Encounters

In collaboration with Rumen Rachev. Presented at Play/Perform/Participate International Society for Intermediality Studies Conference in Utrecht, April 2015.

In this lecture performance we study water as an interface whereby colonial encounters are activated and shaped. Interface, in its simplest definition, is what lies in between parts or systems, and can simultaneously be a filter, a control device, and a tool that structures social interactions in public space. Through discussions on colonial water management practices, we approach water as a prototypical interface that structures hierarchies and designates boundaries between the coloniser and the savage. Through this intervention, we take on a postcolonial/ decolonial angle on interfaces and interfacing technologies. These include looking at water as providing the surface for (slave and trade) ships to sale,  as a discipling tool for cultural dominance over the so called ‘natives’, and as a dividing line between colonisers/colonised.

This understanding of water is predicated upon a media archaeological perspective to dig deep into the everyday life structure of technologically mediated life. In its material manifestation, water also plays an important role in technology: from the usage of water to cool down data centers, to harvesting the power of water to produce electricity, to water introduced as a material metaphor where technology becomes more ‘fluid’. By aligning different perspectives of water as material and metaphorical, we map out how water performs and participates as an interface.

Alex Martinis Roe: Their desire rang through the halls and into the tower (2014)

Supported by CASCO and co-presented by If I can’t dance I don’t want to be part of your revolution.

Their desire rang through the halls and into the tower (2014) is a spoken performance devised by artist Alex Martinis Roe. The performance intertwines the histories of Anna Maria van Schurman, the first female university student in Europe, who attended Utrecht University in the seventeenth century, and the development of the Women’s and then Gender Studies research school at that same university. Based on oral histories and textual research by Martinis Roe, members of the Graduate Gender Programme of Utrecht University collectively edited the script and  performed a group political diagram composed of layered and partial accounts of this trans-historical community.

Bad Reputation

poster_counterpoint “For a long time I have hesitated to write a book on woman. The subject is irritating, especially to women; and it is not new. Enough ink has been spilled in the quarreling over feminism, now practically over, and perhaps we should say no more about it. It is still talked about, however, for the voluminous nonsense uttered during the last century seems to have done little to illuminate the problem. After all, is there a problem? And if so, what is it?”

The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir (1976)

Devised physical theatre performance with collaborators Rosalia Chieppa, Meike Deveney, Alex Doble, and Michelle Dunlop. Presented in December 2013 at Lumley Theatre, University of Kent, Canterbury, England. What place does feminism have in the world today? Bad Reputation is an exploration of the movement, why people are so quick to dismiss it, and why they perhaps shouldn’t be. A social, political, and cultural revolution that has taken place over more than a century, feminism has experienced its ups and downs, with generations of women and men relating to it in different ways. Is feminism still a mobilising force that shapes our futures? We look into history to reflect upon our ties with it.


Thirst, a collaboration between director/choreographer Kate March, and artists Patricia Chiu, Muriel Hoffman, Giselle Liu, Jade Yung, and myself. 7 performances in February 2012, at Experimenta Gallery, Hong Kong. For details, please refer to the following article I wrote and published in dancejournal/hk as a critical reflection and archiving of the performance.