Encounters Across Cultures 2021 – A Journey through dance and architecture
At The House Collective, we believe that incredible creativity comes from crossing cultures. Encounters Across Cultures is our biennial art programme where we invite artists from different backgrounds to collaborate. With this year's team of creators spanning dance, interactive design and more, we present an exploration of space and movement at each of our Houses.
"We wanted to create an encounter between the two art forms, architecture and dance. Without question, space and architectural designs play an important role in shaping our experiences and emotions. Dance expresses and shares emotions through the ultimate architecture of nature - the human body. It is one of the most powerful forms of emotional expression. This art programme explores how movements can be a captivating medium for perceiving, experiencing, and articulating architecture. It hopes to remind us to slow down and observe the details, to dive into our surroundings. To be present within the space. To look up."
Patsy Lo, Curator and Producer
Encounters Across Cultures took on particular meaning this year with the outbreak of Covid-19 and the resulting global restrictions on travel. The cross-cultural team endured quarantines and pushed on, a demonstration of creative resilience and the human spirit. Curator Patsy Lo pulled together the entire team of international artists virtually. Collaborating across time zones and languages, the team has never met in person. Collaborating throughout the pandemic meant numerous technical challenges as creative concepting, art direction, choreography and rehearsals all were done remotely across Paris, Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai.
Encounters Across Cultures 2021 is an interactive engagement between dance and architecture. It allows the audience to create their own journey through the unique spaces of the Houses with dance movements and time.
Chapter 1 of Encounters Across Cultures 2021 feature two dance artists, Yu Jinying and Li Xingmeng, as they explore the mysterious ceramic bamboo forest of The Middle House in Shanghai and the glowing geometric forms of The Opposite House in Beijing. The audience is invited to join the dancers by taking charge of the time and pace of the dance through the installation.
Chapter 2 of the programme presents an experience through two parallel universes – featuring elegant ballet at The Upper House, Hong Kong, and bold hip hop at The Temple House, Chengdu where the creators imagined a tale of two friends in two cities, sharing one dance encounter through two difference spaces. At The Upper House, a piece was choreographed for ballerina Hennes Yuen of the Hong Kong Ballet, responding to the open arcs and rhythmic upward flow designed by architect André Fu. In contrast, hip hop dance artist Wan Siming plays off The Temple House's dramatic juxtaposition of Qing dynasty courtyards with contemporary forms, celebrating her home region’s past and vibrant hip hop culture of today.
Click here to learn more about Chapter 2.
The dance artists’ journeys are independent yet intersecting across time and space. It calls to mind that we are influenced not only by the physical spaces that we reside in, but also by the journeys of others around us.