Handbook of Daily Movement (run time: 30 minutes) is an experimental spoken word-movement film featuring words by Marc Nair, choreography by Sudhee Liao and kombucha props by Audrey Ng. The film is an expression of a modern hierarchy of needs; enacting states of sleep, technology and the afterlife, among other concerns. The film was shot in Hong Kong in 2019.
Handbook of Daily Movement Highlights
Notes on the Film
These Sleeping Dreams
To sleep is to dream. To dream is a kind of sleep.
To sleep in dreams is to dream of sleep in dreaming sleep;
these sleeping dreams.
Handbook of Daily Movement opens with a meditation on sleep, an essential part of the human condition, but one often overlooked in the pursuit of our waking hours. The text contains elements of mechanisation, a trope that carries on in later pieces about work and reproduction. The movement is set outdoors, within an indeterminate green space, as the full body suit and a surreal helmet-like contraption alludes to a futuristic plug and play solution to sleep.
We Are Still Hungry
There are many ways of preparing the body for food,
or food for the body.
There is prayer, there is the wok.
There is ritual, and there is the kill.
Food is everywhere. And nowhere.
This is a tongue-in-cheek, alternative way of looking at food, through the lens of strange food disorders and desires. It is both homage to food and the lack of it. Food security remains a serious issue for a segment of the population, yet food wastage continues to proliferate amongst developed countries. The wearable costume, grown from kombucha, becomes literal food in this scene, as a wrist wrap is plated and slowly consumed amongst a plethora of other dishes on the table. What we eat becomes who we are.
The Empire of Work
Work is almost a bad word. Seen as necessary, being busy with work has become the easiest excuse for not attending to other areas of life. The poem is about the search for balance against this monolithic, immovable creature that defines and confines us but it is also about moments that allow us to break out, to stand outside of our office desks, as it were, and adjust the inevitable metronome that dictates our hours. The performance is set in a ‘cubicle’ that only contains a single desk. The metronome sets the rhythm of the movement but also dictates the constraints.
Your Digikid needs a name! Some parents take time to consult guides and manuals. We have included a handy name generator to help you decide.
This is a satirical take on childbearing in an age of digital reproduction. The Digikid, heir apparent to the Tamagotchi, fulfills the innate human desire to reproduce without all of its attendant misery. But true to our over-prescribed selves, there is always a manual. The spoken word piece functions as an easy, quick-start guide for entering the world of virtual parenting. The anonymous costume with stylised movements that reflects the quasi-mechanised/digital interface of the Digikid.
All the Way To The Stars
Your eyes tremble as you turn the pages of a
love story to Bangkok, in its street savvy sois,
small bowls of warm noodles, laughter from go-go bars,
the constant grind of traffic like an eternal snake winding
its way like the Mekong through the deltas of Indochina
Think of this as a series of cutaways to different spaces in the world. The idea of travel here is a continuous stream of consciousness, an unbroken series of experiences that mark moments of gentle interruption. These are pauses in the flow of the world, whether sparked by sense memory, a particular image or the taste of something. This piece would have been impossible to visualise, so the compromise was to do a one-take shot on a jetty, a logical location for one to begin a journey.
Here’s Another Thing
Where would we be without our things?
We’ll be wandering like empty shopping trolleys down aisles of imagination.
We’ll be making chimeras from sand on the beach.
We’ll be dressed in leaves and animal pelts in cities of concrete.
These are thoughts on consumption, on the inevitable accumulation of possessions. Things are anonymous, amorphous, yet they are also imbued with a particular sentimentality, a value that outweighs their use-states. They move beyond the material into emotional baggage. We hold on to our things because we fear losing. Things keep us from being alone, even while we are already lonely. The movement here is relatively simple, playing with a select number of objects and ending with a photograph made with an instant camera, that most ephemeral of things.
When they give you a number after the security checkpoint,
the scanner crackles a murmured amen and pure light skims
your body, leaving you clear-headed and a little hungry.
How is life after death? Will we have some kind of Internet access? How will we spend long afternoons? The rambling lines are accompanied by movement within surroundings that hint at a deconstructed sort of heaven. Here, the inhabitants have a pulsating LED cross on their chest and all sport an amorphous kind of afterlife identity. The movements are designed to be emotionally neutral and occupy a spatial awareness of non-space, a nebulous expression of an unsighted realm.
Depending on where you live,
trace amounts of compassion and selflessness may be found in your product.
Do not be alarmed. These are, surprisingly, the key to our long shelf life.
A take on the typical ingredient list found on product labels, this piece proffers a different kind of beauty: one that is inner rather than outer. The finishing powder is comprised of various elements that aim to put a different kind of gloss on the wearer. The performance reenacts a typical online beauty tutorial, but instead of regular brushes and make-up kit, natural plant stems and paint is used.
Frequently Answered Question About the Body
Can a body become another body? Can a body disremember itself?
Is memory nothing more than lines of ghost code?
We have long lists of frequently answered questions about most things in life; products, services, even relationships. But how often do we try to question ourselves? This is an attempt at philosophy couched within the form of an FAQ, a series of questions that are accompanied by moving images of a body, clad in organic wear, moving against a brick wall. There are no answers here, only thoughts, only questions. The body, for all of its wonder, contains a measure of the unknowable and the unseen.
Many of the futures we commit to daily
are premised on toxic circumstances. Some
futures may trigger allergic reactions such
as daydreaming and shallow breathing. Some
islands may disappear as the future erodes
everything below present sea-level.
The film ends with a treatise about the future, originally adapted from a warning about the existence of particular chemicals in a product. The future is a thing that is fraught with greatness and darkness. We may yet ascend to untold heights or return to an atavistic, hunter-gatherer state of being. It is, in the end, about how we choose to power our days, how we treat the earth and the water. It is about how much we value our lives. The film is set on a beach with an ominous power station in the background. The movement, on rocks at low tide, is both primal and plaintive, a cry from a feral heart for change.