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Experimental theater experience to debut

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2018-09-08 09:59
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New York-based Chinese artist Ma Tingying will present her latest new media theater production Future Host at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in Beijing on Sept 8 and 9, and the Shanghai Ming Contemporary Art Museum (MCAM) on Sept 15 and 16. [Photo provided to China Daily]

US-based Chinese artist Ma Tingying will showcase her unique sound and performance installation in China this month, Chen Nan reports.

About three years ago, New York-based Chinese artist Ma Tingying came across a video in which German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen gives a lecture on electronic music.

Intrigued by his use of bombastic language, she watched the entire clip and ended up being inspired to create a theater production which features no actors, but a multichannel sound installation composed solely of human voices and a live, improvised performance by a children's marching band.

Titled Future Host, this new media theater performance - it is written and directed by Ma - was shown at the Knockdown Center in New York from Jan 20 to 22, 2017. It was also a part of the TPAM Performing Arts Festival in Yokohama, one of the most influential platforms for contemporary performing arts in Asia, which took place on Feb 13 and 14 last year.

This September, Ma's unique performance will be staged at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in Beijing on Sept 8 and 9, and the Shanghai Ming Contemporary Art Museum (MCAM) on Sept 15 and 16.

Another unique element in this daring musical experiment is that audience members can roam freely during the performance.

"I've always been interested in the exploration of space," Ma says. In her creation of Future Host, Ma says she has finally come to realize that theater could exist among the audience.

Future Host features a collaboration between Chinese and US artists, including producer Kang Kang, composer C. Spencer Yeh and digital, spatial sound engineer Kamron Saniee.

"With our collaborators, we are really trying to do something that's hardly, if not never, been done before, which is to apply the most cutting-edge concepts and techniques of spatialization, which have evolved a great deal since Stockhausen's time, to an unconventional dramatic text, in order to map out our vision of the modern cosmos," Ma says.

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