In 2016 I completed my doctoral thesis titled: The fabric of transcultural collaboration: Interweaving the traditional Korean vocal form of p’ansori and the contemporary Japanese dance form of butoh in a transculturally Australian context.
The 5 years of research and development of this practice-led study culminated in the premiere of 대홍수 Deluge in 2014 in Brisbane at the Brisbane Festival, and in Seoul as part of the Seoul International Dance Festival (SiDance). The work toured to Seoul a second time, in 2015 as Deluge: 물의기억 to mark the occasion of the 1st anniversary of the sinking of the Sewol ferry.
My thesis has been published in an interactive PDF format, and is available as part of the Queensland University of Technology’s ePrints collection.
This practice-led research project investigated the interweaving of the image-based physicality of butoh and the traditional Korean vocal style of p’ansori in a transcultural environment. The research was undertaken as a series of creative development cycles with a team of artists from Australia and Korea, culminating in the premiere of Deluge, a work of physical theatre that responded to the 2011 Queensland floods and which constitutes the practical component (50%) of this practice-led study.
The act of collaborating with an artistically, culturally, and linguistically diverse team led to tensions and disruptions occurring in the creative process. By employing techniques derived from reflective practice, the locations of these interruptions were identified as occurring at ‘sites of transcultural potential’. Directly investigating these sites led to the development of a range of interventions that helped to improve the negotiation of interpersonal relationships and assisted in the emergence of a more productive working environment. The development of Deluge in this environment led to the discovery of a shared, metaphoric vocabulary which enabled elements of butoh and p’ansori to be woven together in training, rehearsal, and in the act of performance.
The outcomes of this research will assist artists working in culturally and linguistically diverse environments, with collaborators from different performance practices who wish to create work that conforms to the transcultural ideal: the modelling of new and inclusive realities that could not be solely realised by any individual participating culture.
Header Image: FenLan Chuang (2014)