The Flying Circus Project
(Special Edition 2005, Yokohama)
: The School of Politics

International Triennale of Contemporary Art, Yokohama 2005
Yokohama, Japan
28 September to 18 December 2005

Ong Keng Sen (Singapore) in collaboration with
Reyum Institute of Arts and Culture (Cambodia)
Amir Muhammad (Malaysia)
Continuum Asia Project (Laos)
Tintin Wulia (Indonesia)
Popo (Myanmar)

An International Centre of Asian Arts (ICAA) Project

Established in 1994 by Ong Keng Sen, Artistic Director of TheatreWorks Singapore, The Flying Circus Project (FCP) is a major program exploring diverse Asian expression in the 21st Century. This trans-disciplinary, long-term research and development program has continued for ten years. It consists of laboratories, workshops, dialogues and seminars.

The most recent FCP in December 2004 focused largely on religion, gender, culture through visual arts, literature, philosophy, performance and video. It brought together artists from Asia, Europe and the Arab world for the first time.

The focal points of the FCP are on cultural negotiation and process in culture and arts. It looks at the different creative strategies of individual artists, both traditional and contemporary, through the recognition of differences between cultures.

The public is invited to be a witness to some of the laboratories. For instance, in 2004, there was also an ongoing "Open Lab" exhibition showing works by the FCP visual artists. This "Open Lab" served as an interface site between the public and the lab activities.

Different variations of the Flying Circus Project have taken place in Singapore, Berlin, Luang Prabang, Amsterdam, New York City and now, Yokohama; led by Ong. Ong actively contributes to the evolution of contemporary identities and aesthetics. His juxtaposition of different art forms and cultural styles has created a trademark interdisciplinary approach.

The Flying Circus Project (Special Edition 2005, Yokohama) : The School of Politics
The Flying Circus Project (Special Edition 2005, Yokohama) in the Yokohama Triennale is a school of politics which looks at an atypical gathering of 'small' politics and everyday activism in arts and culture. It will highlight the role of artists in the larger context of their societies by bringing together archives, video, cd-books, film, documentary and special events.

It consists of:

  1. "The Mekong Diaries", a youth video project from Laos which was facilitated by Asian filmmakers under the Continuum Asia Project (Laos)
  2. "6horts" by Amir Muhammad - a film-maker from Malaysia who concentrates on the form of video essays
  3. "Ketok, Violence Against Fruits, Everything OK and Other Shorts" by Tintin Wulia - a filmmaker from Bali, Indonesia who has made many shortfilms about her Chinese ethnicity and present day Indonesia
  4. Popo/Myint Mo Aung/Soe Naing from Myanmar with their book project "Scream of the Dead"
  5. Reyum Institute of Arts and Culture, Cambodia with their memory bank "Seams of Change: Clothing and the care of the self in late 19th and 20th century Cambodia"
  6. "The Open Society" a roundtable with Japanese curators, artists and policy makers constituted by Ong Keng Sen

There is an emphasis on an educational quality about different aspects of activism in south east asia, development facilitation through arts and culture. It looks at documentation of everyday life by local communities themselves; personal reflections about self, race and nation; metaphors expressed through the fun of animation, shadow puppets about urban life and rapid transformations; people in a country that the world left behind and a retrieval of memory project through oral archives and research. Finally it brings the discussion to Japan where a roundtable looks at art and society interactions, at the intimate processes of discussion and decision-making which impact public interests.

The Flying Circus Project (Special Edition 2005, Yokohama) will constitute video projections (Tintin Wulia and Amir Muhammad); monitors with headsets (Continuum Asia Project); computers (Popo), exhibits (Reyum) and finally an open space for events: lectures, conversations, special screenings and "the open society" to take place on selected dates.


7 & 8 October (Fri & Sat)
"The School of Politics"

The Flying Circus Project (Special Edition 2005) opens with a number of public presentations from 'the school of politics'.

Po Po, visual artist from Myanmar, shares with us the development of contemporary arts in Myanmar, a country that has become forgotten by the world and which has become increasingly isolated.

Ly Daravuth, co-founder of Reyum Institute of Arts and Culture in Cambodia, talks about their memory bank "Seams of Change: Clothing and the care of the self in late 19th and 20th century Cambodia". This is placed in the context of contemporary cultural developments in Cambodia since the collapse of the Khmer Rouge. The memory bank is a collection of conversations with elderly Cambodians.

Ong Keng Sen, presents the "The Continuum Asia Project", a 18-month project by Theatreworks Singapore that focuses on people-to-people collaboration. Based on the principle of capacity building, it brings together elders from the Ramayana dance tradition of Laos, youths of the ancient city of Laos, Luang Prabang and artists of Asia.

7 October, Friday 7pm
Talk by Ly Daravuth, on the Reyum Institute of Arts and Culture in Cambodia

8 October, Saturday 3pm
Talk by Ong Keng Sen, on "The Continuum Asia Project" in Luang Prabang, Laos

8 October, Saturday 4.30pm
Talk by Popo, on Contemporary Arts in Myanmar

14 - 16 October (Fri - Sun)
"The School of Politics"

In this weekend of special events, there will be screenings featuring filmmakers from Malaysia, Amir Muhammad and from Indonesia, Tintin Wulia.

"The Big Durian" by Amir Muhammad, is a witty and unusual handling of an infamous Internal Security Act clampdown in Kuala Lumpur. This fiction/ documentary hybrid reveals deep insights into the racial tensions in Malaysian society. This is accompanied by screening of Amir's "Tokyo Magic Hour", an experimental romance between two men, narrated against digitally manipulated imagery of Tokyo.

Tintin Wulia will present a screening of recent short films by young Indonesian filmmakers programmed by Minikino which promises to be entertaining, informative and also highly charged. This will be followed by a sneak preview to her latest documentary about Sobron Aidit, an Indonesian writer who 40 years ago became a political exile in France - under Soeharto's regime - simply for being the brother of the late communist party leader, Dipa Nusantara Aidit.

Both Amir and Tintin will hold public talks in this weekend. They will discuss their work, what inspires them and the politics that surrounds their respective works.

14 October, Friday 7pm
Screening of "The Big Durian" by Amir Muhammad (with Japanese subtitles)

15 October, Saturday 3pm
Screening of "The Big Durian" by Amir Muhammad (with Japanese subtitles).
Talk with filmmaker Amir Muhammad follows.

15 October, Saturday 7pm
Screening of "Tokyo Magic Hour" by Amir Muhammad.

16 October, Sunday 2pm
Screening of a collection of work by 'Minikino'.

16 October, Sunday 3.15pm
Screening of "Sobron, Daily" (working title) by Tintin Wulia.
Talk with filmmaker Tintin Wulia follows.

Note: All talks will have Japanese translation provided.


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