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  • Writer's pictureAlysa Leung

Playing with objects— Geumhyung Jeong

In this two days workshop, Jeong guides us through a journey of building relationships with objects. 6 hours a day with continued exercises, I experience it as a durational performance performed by all participants.

From the workshop structure, I observe that Jeong is a person who focuses a lot on ideas, curiosity and time:

On day 1, she guides us to use a different approach of introducing ourselves, truth, conversations, “lies”, fiction…Then, we slowly add on the objects to the narratives, such as one people talking and the other people taking the non-relational objects to inspire each other. This warm-up opens our imagination; hence, we can think of more angles in reading a ‘fact’.

Then, we stopped talking but introduced objects and space. By staging different object, we try to imagine the connections and possibilities between objects and space. As a performer, I enjoy it a lot with the mess, while as a spectator, I find joy in free interpretation. transforming from “pictures”, we slowly move on to the interactions with objects, which means our making process is also being seen. And then, on day two, we also play with the possibility between 4 chairs and one human. The rule is simple, four chairs as a set, and 1 human reacts to it. Sometimes, it changes to 1 body set for the others versus people set and reacting to the chairs setting themselves. In this process, different elements of the stage, such as sound while putting the chairs, risk-taking movement while reacting to the set, expanding the theatre space (even to the street), audience address (where to put them), etc.

“Time for exploration” I find this is fundamental in working with objects. Jeong’s practice challenges the audience's patients and curiosity. Connecting her workshop to her work, a significant methodology I noticed from her is that she emphasises the displacement of objects (facts) and liberates the interpretation process. In the workshop, we play with various ways of using space, object(s), or even sequence (e.g. four chairs). These exercises visualising Jeong’s creativity way:

  • Durational object exploration (7 ways)

  • Re-interpretation (Oil Pressure Vibrator)

  • Human Interaction with an object (Spa and beauty)

  • And more…

Throughout this process, the audience’s role also greatly changes her pieces. Sometimes it is direct as tour guide/ participants, while sometimes building the 4th wall. The choice of audience address also explains why her performance is always full of surprise— you never know how intimate you will be with her. I am also curious about her performing status; she is very concentrated and natural, with no extra “acting/dancing”. I have a brief idea through this workshop: she is simply being and taking action on stage. Playing with these objects is not executing an action but sharing the space and focus with these “non-living performers” without hierarchy. And this mutual and open floor for all objects, audiences and performers is inspiring.

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