Hiroaki Umeda – indivisible substance
The Box, Freespace
The Indivisible Dance between All Things and Self
Japanese artist Hiroaki Umeda uses new technologies to experiment with the possibility of combining online and offline performances. indivisible substance, which was three years in the making, began in 2020 when the artist, during the first phase, began to work with game designers to incorporate real environments into virtual images, and transformed dances into computer graphics in order to devise a live online performance entitled With/out Umeda (2020). In 2021, Umeda began the second stage of his work and familiarised himself with various new technologies to find a suitable medium to explore the interactions between visual programming and psychology. Together with technological creatives and musicians, he focused on developing the content of his works, and produced an interim work, a live online performance of indivisible substance. The name neatly sums up the worldview of Hiroaki Umeda - he believes that the self is not eternal, but is deeply influenced by factors such as social culture, human relationships, natural environment and so on. The individual and the universe are inseparable, for “individuality is rooted in the environment, which connects the self to all things”.
Over the past three years, Umeda has gone from being a novice in new technologies to understanding and adapting them, and finally to using technologies as creative tools. The final chapter of this experiment can be seen as an integration of all that he has learned. “Actually high technology is not difficult to use, but creating a piece is different stage”. After two online showings, the final version of the work will be staged at Freespace this year. This live version of indivisible substance combines digital technology with dance, using point cloud data to obtain microscopic and macroscopic data from nature, such as trees, seas, deserts, etc., which is then combined with footage filmed with Kinect cameras that captures the 3D data of live dancers’ movements to create a unity of natural environment and the human body of dancers. Umeda further explores the “achievable impossibility” that can only be realised in virtual space, such as “the ways of choreographing the entire space at the same time, including the environment and the human body, to make the two more closely integrated and dance together.”
Due to COVID travel restrictions, Hiroaki Umeda would not be able to come to Hong Kong in person, but fortunately, he was able to select the distinctive dancers from Hong Kong for this performance. His intention is not to compile a set of movements for the dancers to follow, but is looking forward to experimenting with the Hong Kong dancers. “Each dancer has their own uniqueness, I hope to bring out their individuality and put them into the work. I aim to uncover the commonalities of dance and extract from them the elements that they all share.”
Creative and Production Team
- Direction, Choreography
- Hiroaki Umeda
- Candy Hung Lai-kwan
- Lo King-san
- Carmen Yu Hau-yi
- AOKI takamasa
- Visual Direction
- Visual Creation
- THINK AND SENSE
- Technical, Visual Direction
- Shuhei Matsuyama
- Visual Programming
- Takamitsu Masumi
- Yuki Hikita
- Ayato Ohkawara
- Production Management
- Suzuko Tanoiri
About Creative and Production Teams
Direction, ChoreographyPhoto by: Aya Tarumi
Choreographer and multidisciplinary artist Hiroaki Umeda is recognised as one of the leading figures of the Japanese avant-garde art scene.
Since the launch of his company S20, Umeda has toured internationally to audience and critic acclaim and is acknowledged for his strong digital background, holistic artistic methodology, and for incorporating physical, optical, sensorial and spatiotemporal components. His interest in choreographing time and space has also led to work as a composer, lighting designer, scenographer and visual artist.
Solo works such as Adapting for Distortion (2008), Haptic (2008), Holistic Strata (2011) and split flow (2013) combine digital imagery, minimal soundscape and potent corporeality, and have transfixed audiences at major festivals and theatres worldwide. In the choreographic project Superkinesis” (2009–2019) Umeda worked with dancers of distinct physical backgrounds to explore kinetic languages and the environment. Since 2010, Umeda has created installations exploring optical illusion and physical immersion. A series of works combining visual and physical sensation earned him the Prix Ars Electronica, Honorary Mention, in 2010. In 2014, Umeda launched the “Somatic Field Project” to nurture young dancers and develop his movement method “Kinetic Force Method”.
Umeda is appointed the first choreographer of their new choreographer system at Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse No.1 from 2022.
International producer, live performer, and DJ. AOKI takamasa released his first album SILICOM in 2001. Between 2004 and 2011, he was based in Europe before returning to Japan. Since then he has done several remixes for international and domestic artists, undertaking both production and mixing. AOKI takamasa is currently part of the unit “Neutral” along with Bun/Fumitake Tamura. He also works as a photographer.
THINK AND SENSE
Technological creative firm THINK AND SENSE uses technology as a basis for multifaceted approaches to the construction of frameworks and development of solutions, and does not shy away from social implementation.
Candy Hung Lai-kwan
Dancer Candy Hung Lai-kwan studied Contemporary Dance at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. Upon graduation in 2018, she was a teaching artist at City Contemporary Dance Company and now works as a freelance performer.
Hung has participated in productions by local and international choreographers, including Set and Reset/Reset by Diane Madden, Three Fingers at Arm's Length by Leila McMillan, Cat Dérive by Gabrielle Nankivell, Under This Weight by Dam Van Huynh, CHERISH by Moments of Recollection, Winterreise·The Rite of Spring by Helen Lai, Duality by Jacky Yu, Dance at Dawn by Yuri Ng, and The Battle by Kenny Leung.
Recently, Hung has a growing interest in theatre and physical theatre. She has attended courses by The Circus Theatre Group, including “Body Brain Institute Intercultural Performance Study Programme” and “An Acrobat of the Heart: A Physical Approach to Acting Inspired by the Work of Jerzy Grotowski”.
Carmen Yu Hau-yi
Carmen Yu is a freelance dance artist who graduated from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts with a degree in Contemporary Dance. Her recent works include Tang Shu-wing Theatre Studio’s Hamlet, MW Dance Theatre’s The Formidable Year and Shelf Life (mainland China tour); The Next 20 Hins Live in Hong Kong 2022; Littlebreath Creative Workshop’s Future Performing Arts Lab #1; Y-Space’s Dancing All Around Yuen Long; Yat Po Singers’ Pica Pica Choose (as Director Assistant); Hong Kong Dance Alliance’s New Force in Motion series 2021; Siu Lung Fung Dance Theatre’s Bodies, Movement and the Cityscape; E-side Dance Company’s Duality; The Hong Kong Jockey Club Contemporary Dance Series’ Elephant in the Room (toured in mainland China); Blank Space Studio’s 4’33”; CCDC’s WuQing DNA 2019: Play What!; and Let’s Be Together Arts Festival 2019’s Memory of Sugar (toured in Hengchun, Taiwan).
King is a modern dancer and versatile artist specialising in body movement and energy harmonisation. After graduating with a degree in Contemporary Dance from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Lo received his master’s degree from the London Contemporary Dance School, where he furthered his understanding of bodily movements and expressions. The practices of Qigong and Wing Chun have inspired Lo’s choreography, leading him to develop techniques derived from self-exploration.
Lo believes that combining movements and mindfulness techniques can help us discover the key to being centred and balanced, greatly benefitting our mental and physical health. He has thus devoted his practice to promoting self-discovery of one’s body through movement and mindfulness.
About Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse No.1
[Yokohama Arts Foundation]
A cultural facility situated in a building that was renovated from a warehouse built in 1913. Its concepts are “creation and dissemination of the arts and culture” and “creation of liveliness.” Focusing on contemporary dance and visual arts, it has been promoting emerging artists to the world. Equipped with a hall with flexible facilities and gallery, it functions as a hub of culture and tourism in Yokohama through producing dance, performing arts exhibitions and outdoor events.