Mali Bucha: Dance OfferingOrganised by: An Esplanade Commission
Performed by: Kornkarn Rungsawang (Thailand)
Cross material and virtual worlds with up-and-coming choreographer Kornkarn Rungsawang in this ritual-inspired performance that combines dance, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Rum Kea Bon is an ancient ritual performed at shrines and temples in Thailand where dance is used as a tool for negotiation by humans towards higher beings in a bid to make wishes come true. The charming dancer, hired as a messenger to access higher beings, enhances the likelihood of one's wish fulfilment.
Inspired by this ritual, Kornkarn created Mali Bucha: Dance Offering, a hybrid constellation of augmented reality, virtual reality and dance. This immersive and participatory iteration of Rum Kea Bon crosses between physical and immaterial worlds, with a digital shrine accessible through AR and VR throughout the duration of the performance. Audience members will be able to view, make wishes and offer flowers to the digital shrine, with VR headsets present on site for audiences.
Kornkarn thus acts as an interface between the material plane (the real-time audience) and the digital realm (the virtual shrine), communicating individual wishes and thanksgiving to higher beings through dance. Flowing as a current throughout Mali Bucha is a belief system that concerns itself with duality—economics and ecology, image and sound, old and new, the mundane and the transcendent.
This performance marks the full-length premiere of Mali Bucha: Dance Offering, after being workshopped at various leading platforms in Asia and Europe, such as Dance Nucleus in Singapore, Kinosaki International Arts Centre in Japan, and Tanz Kongress in Germany. As a dancer, Kornkarn has spent years performing with the renowned Pichet Klunchun and training in both classical and contemporary dance forms. Now as a dancemaker to watch, she continues to bridge the traditional and contemporary, reflecting modern cultural impulses of this generation.
Mali Bucha: Dance Offering is commissioned by Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay.
This production is presented as part of da:ns focus – Connect Asia Now (CAN), a weekend that spotlights contemporary dance works by Asian artists focusing on distinct voices and creative impulses from the region.