Eternal Summer Storm, (in)voluntary re-enacting performance

Eternal Summer Storm

Eternal Summer Storm is the first experiment proposed by Choy Ka Fai within the framework of the Prospectus for a Future Body: an ambitious project whose goal, according to the Singaporean artist, is to study the conditioning processes through which the human body adapts to future technological contexts. In particular, Ka Fai deeply explores the concept of muscle memory, a form of transmission of knowledge that can potentially overcome the traditional experience of learning body movements based on the conventions of audio-video documentation. The experiment is related to the eighteenth-century studies of Luigi Galvani on the stimuli that produce involuntary movements of isolated muscle groups (so-called ‘galvanism’). Ka Fai applies this assumption, creating an organized sequence of movements that recreates the choreography of legendary Japanese dancer Tasumi Hijikata, the inspirational figure of the sixties cultural protest movement Ankoku-Butoh (then just Butoh), and author and performer in 1973 of Eternal Summer Storm: a dance made of extremely controlled movements in a grotesque and decadent atmosphere. In his experiments, Ka Fai applies on his body a set of electrodes whose stimulations produces spontaneous muscle movements, that mimic those of Tasumi Hijikata. The conditioned movements go hand in hand with archive sound and visual materials, creating an innovative learning environment and an archived sequence of conditioned movements. The artist hopes that this database, as it is enriched, will become adept at creating choreographies based on muscle memory.

Vito Campanelli