Chan Wai-lok – In the Cloud

Chan Wai-lok – In the Cloud

The Terrace, Freespace

Choreographer’s message

We may feel strange and awkward when we listen to our own voice recordings. This “performance” is to create a viewing experience for “audience” (“participants”, to be more precise) to listen to their own voices. The content of the performance is created by the participants’ own archives and supplemented by the visual images and spontaneous sound effects by participating artists. We target to allow participants to undergo a performing experience and to enjoy their own interpretation, so that they can have some clues on how and why they interpret performances in such ways.

Relax, you will be enjoying this experience in a private and cosy space.

Chan Wai-lok

In the Cloud Creative Process

Text: Chan Wai-lok

It is a choreographic journey that invites and involves participants to make their own interpretations with their archives, with the aid of text, visual images and spontaneous sound effects.


It was back to the times when most of the social activities were prohibited or suspended. Performances and public events were cancelled or turned to online. As a performing arts artist, it very often comes to me what is the urgency for creation at this particular time and space.

Under the pandemic, physical performances are turned online. While many of us are habitual users of social media, already abundant of pop culture and entertainment, what is the position of performing arts in such online social platforms? Do people who scroll Facebook and Instagram really watch and pay attention to online streaming? Even if they do, are they really engaged in it without distraction? Does communication exist in these online performances between the artists and the audience?

At this particular time (when people are bound to be apart) and space (with a lot of social distancing measures), while we have been desperate for social life, can a work allow people to meet up intimately and trigger a real communication between artists and audience?

Note: The inspiration of the work was developed in early 2022 during the outbreak of the fifth wave of Covid-19 in Hong Kong, in which the social distancing measures were tightened and might not be applicable to the current situation.

Research Phase

Under these circumstances, at the very first instance, In the Cloud was a project that aimed at re-gathering people to engage back to a truly communicable channel during a pandemic-restricting situation and it brought In the Cloud to research phase, where 16 artists and scholars (“the invitees”) from various backgrounds were invited to join the research.

The research was conducted in a 1-on-1 setting, where each of the invitees came to a private studio to meet me online, instead of meeting online at our own home or in person. It was a response to the social distancing rules and unusual theatrical audience experience (watching performance through a monitor). We did meet each other but we were in a different place. Unlike many online performances or residencies, it encouraged and created impressions and experiences that the invitees are really going to somewhere to be engaged, instead of staying at home and turning on a computer.

The research phase invited and provoked discourses on the invitees’ observations and imaginations on performing arts practice. The discussion covered when they came to know about “dance” for the very first time and how they thought about “dance” and “art”. Not surprisingly, all their answers were different. But interestingly enough, they gave answers from their own archives. Some came to know dance from cartoon clips, TV shows and pop music videos. Some considered dance and art the same thing, but some pointed out that dance without concept could be craftmanship, while art is something with inspiration and/or shared experience that evokes resonance.

It came to my attention that for the invitees, who are actively engaged in various art forms (whether or not they are conventionally trained), their consciousness and concept on “dance” and “art” can be very different due to their own archives.

On the other hand, as the discourse was merely conducted in verbally, while performing arts are highly associated with bodily movements, the discourse inevitably generated different key images by imagination based on our own archives, even in the same discourse. For example, when we talked about a cartoon character’s typical movement, the images in our brain can be (a bit) different if our recollections on that movement is different. Sounds affect how we perceive information, how we recollect memories from our archives, and ultimately, how we imagine and interpret the sounds.

Transformation into public engagement

From the research phase, “archive” is the keyword. It provides insight and inspirations for moving In the Cloud forward into the public (participant) engagement phase, where text, visual images, and spontaneous sound effects trigger the participants’ own imagination and interpretation on movements based on participants’ own “archives”.

During the research phase, we also discussed that audience seldom perceive a performance from the eyes of a performer. This also leads to this public engagement version, where the audience is put in a position where they undergo a “performing experience” without moving around to perform.

By contributing their own archives, their unique imagination and interpretation create an intimate journey for public to experience “performance” from a performer’s perspective – it becomes their own work.

I’d like to thank the following participating artists and scholars for joining the research phase with me:

  • Chan Wai Lap (Visual artist)
  • Kerry Cheung (Dance artist)
  • Dong Yan (Scholar / Researcher / Dramaturg)
  • Jonathan Hung (Dance artist)
  • Lawrence Lau (Sound artist)
  • Joanna Lee (Scholar / Art Critic / Producer)
  • Carman Li Ka-man (Dance artist)
  • Sudhee Liao (Dance artist)
  • Frieda Luk (Dance artist)
  • Alice Ma (Dance artist)
  • Ngai Wing Lam (Visual artist)
  • Larry Shuen (Sound artist)
  • SuenNam (Dance artist)
  • Dick Wong (Dance artist)
  • Paula Wong (Dance artist)
  • Yau Kwok Keung (Visual artist)

Check out the In the Cloud Instagram to know more about the creative process and updates from the artists.

Creative Team

About the Creative Team

Chan Wai-lok
Photo: Lee Wai Leung

Chan Wai-lok

Concept and Choreography

Hong Kong-born choreographer and performer Chan Wai-lok obtained a degree in architecture from The Chinese University of Hong Kong and studied dance at the Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance, Austria and the Performing Arts Research and Training Studios (P.A.R.T.S.), Belgium, where he was awarded scholarships from the Dance Network Association. His latest solo works, Click, Drink and Dance and An Auction without Bass, explore performativity and choreography. In 2021, he presented {POV [TWINK / COUPLE (ASIAN) / EXPERIMENTAL]} and the video version POV to demonstrate the textural differences between live and recorded dance performances. In 2020, he established the independent art space ngau4 gat1 dei6.

Dick Wong
Photo: Pamela Tsui

Dick Wong

Collaborating Artist and Narrative Creation

Journalism graduate Dick Wong left the publishing industry to pursue a career in contemporary dance and theatre. Since 2006, he has toured extensively in Europe and Asia with the productions B.O.B.* (2005), 1+1 (2009) and Tri_K (2010). Recent works include The Rite of Spring (2016),We Are Now Six (2019), I See (2019), U & I (2021) and MMXXII (2022). Named Artist of the Year (Dance) in the Hong Kong Arts Development Awards 2018, Wong is also an avid practitioner in devising creative research projects. He has collaborated with local dance and theatre companies such as City Contemporary Dance Company, Hong Kong Dance Alliance, Unlock Dancing Plaza and Zuni Icosahedron.

Kerry Cheung
Photo: Rae Fung

Kerry Cheung

Collaborating Artist and Narrative Creation

Kerry Cheung devoted herself to the performing arts after graduating from the Bachelor of Nursing programme at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. As a freelance dancer, she continues to explore different aspects of self and performing. Cheung has been a resident artist of Unlock Dancing Plaza since 2019. Through their #DANCELESS creative workshops, she reaches different people in the community and opens up the public’s imagination of dance.

Cheung‘s performances include Unmixed from the New Force in Motion series; FIT in WHAT from the REAL Showcase series; Maze: Shifting Boundaries by Passoverdance; Untitled III from the Dance On series; Elephant in the Room (Beijing) from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Contemporary Dance Series; KU-SO-OLYMPICS by Unlock Dancing Plaza X Namstrops X SunFool; and Kerry & Frieda in #DANCELESS complex.

Larry Shuen

Larry Shuen

Collaborating Artist, Sound Design and Narrative Creation

Larry Shuen is a Hong Kong composer and multidisciplinary artist. Heavily inspired by classical music and composition training, he derives his works from music, sounds and listening. Shuen expresses his thoughts on life and his surroundings through an artistic practice that includes concert music, film scoring, interactive programming, video essay, sound art, installation art, and media art.

Shuen has been active in theatre production in recent years. He is the sound designer of Six Mouths, the annual production by Unlock Dancing Plaza in 2022. His recent multidisciplinary work Goin’ Goin’ is a collaboration with artist Cheng Nga-yan, exploring the overlapping relationship of sound, virtual navigation and an exercising body.

Carman Li Ka-man

Carman Li Ka-man

Collaborating Artist

Carman Li graduated from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in 2014 with a degree in Contemporary Dance. She is currently a freelance dancer. Li received an award for Outstanding Actress at the 13th Hong Kong Theatre Libre for her performance in Who Killed the Elephant (2021).

Human Wu
Photo: John Lau

Human Wu

Set Design

Human Wu is an architectural designer and educator based in Hong Kong. After working at world-renowned architectural firms in New York, Basel and Hong Kong, he founded his own practice Human Architects. Wu graduated from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Architecture at The University of Hong Kong.