Choy Ka Fai is a Berlin-based Singaporean artist. His multidisciplinary art practice situates itself at the intersection of dance, media art and performance. At the heart of his research is a continuous exploration of the metaphysics of the human body. Through research expeditions, pseudo-scientific experiments and documentary performances, Ka Fai appropriates technologies and narratives to imagine new futures of the human body.
Ka Fai’s explorations shift between poles: culture and science, analogue and digital, personal and impersonal. His enquiry into how man and machine can potentially interface in dance is most evident in works such as Prospectus For a Future Body (2011), where the artist investigates the use of digital technology to mechanically map, store and transfer movements from one body to another. Exploring a similar trajectory, Dance Clinic (2017) projects a vision where choreography can be enhanced through artificial intelligence. Premised on the body as site, and even, as a programmable machine, these projects speculate on possibilities for the future.
Embracing a more anthropological approach, SoftMachine (2015) is a research on diverse dance cultures in Asia. The documentary production gives voice to the agency of practitioners while situating their bodies within the influence of larger societal forces. Foregrounding the creative processes of dancemakers on stage, SoftMachine in turn questions perceptions of what constitutes performance.
Veering into the territory of the supernatural, Ka Fai’s most recent works include Unbearable Darkness (2018) and Cosmic Wander (2021). In Unbearable Darkness, the artist – with the help of a medium – invokes the spirit of Tatsumi Hijikata, the late founder of Japanese Butoh, to explore ‘post-human’ choreographic ideas and alternative states of consciousness. Inspired by eastern philosophies, Cosmic Wander uses digital technology to examine shamanistic dance cultures in Asia. Both projects propose a future in choreography where lines between the spiritual and the secular, virtual and material, are blurred.
Technological experiments. Anthropological discoveries. Dance experiences that swing from the futuristic to the paranormal. Ka Fai’s productions are often infused with a sense of irreverence or the bizarre. Suggesting possibilities that seem almost absurd, humour is used as a device to simultaneously disarm and expose preconceptions towards dance. In this manner, it serves too, as a means to interrogate present realities around the human body.
Ka Fai’s projects have been presented in major institutions and festivals worldwide, including Sadler’s Wells (London, UK), ImPulsTanz Festival (Vienna, Austria) and Tanz Im August (Berlin, Germany). He was the resident artist at tanzhaus nrw in Düsseldorf (2017–19) and Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin (2014–15). In 2010, he was awarded the Young Artist Award by the National Arts Council, Singapore. Ka Fai graduated with a M.A. in Design Interaction from the Royal College of Art, London, United Kingdom.
Website Choy Ka Fai