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May 14, 2010

Time To “Buka Mulut” For Performance Art

March 28, 2010

By Pung Sha-Lene

Diners at a restaurant in 1 Utama Shopping Centre were served more than just food last Saturday – they feasted on one night of daring performance art.

Titled “Buka Mulut”, the event was an initiative by Buka Kolektif and The Instant Café Theatre Company to introduce a new audience to the lesser-known art form.

It was held in Dave’s Pizza Pasta Vino and featured ten local artists.

Artist Rahmat Haron opened the show with his performance “Connections and Disconnections”, inviting the audience to tie his hair with cotton wool thread to anywhere they wanted.

Connections and Disconnections: Performance art by Rahmat Haron

Like most diners on Saturday, it was business student Jenny Kek’s first time watching performance art.

“I think the performances were pretty cool,” Kek, 21, said. “But I don’t think it’s something that everybody might enjoy, because it takes patience and you have to have interest in it.”

Diners at Dave's Pizza Pasta Vino

Part of Buka Kolektif’s mission is to cultivate such an interest.

Poodien is one of the founders of the new arts collective, which consists of artists and art enthusiasts who share an interest in public art.

“Performance art is not celebrated enough in Malaysia,” said Poodien, 31. “You’ve got art exhibitions, theatres and paintings, but not so much performance art.”

Another founder is 29-year-old Sharon Chin – artist, managing editor of Arteri Malaysia, and curator of the performance art event.

When asked why the event was called “Buka Mulut”, Chin explained that “it gives the connotation of opening your mouth is to eat, but also to speak out.”

“[Performance art] is very much about ideas and presenting ideas,” Chin said. “It doesn’t have to be in a gallery, it doesn’t have to be on a stage… it can be in a shopping mall restaurant… and the ideas can be interesting.”

Visual and performance artist Intan Rafiza Abu Bakar, 29, calls performance art “a response to things that are happening” and a “healthy way of expressing your emotion” .

In “Buka Mulut”, she used her art (“Guess How Much I Love You”) – a performance of a mother telling her child bedtime stories – to speak out against child abuse.

"Guess How Much I Love You": Bedtime stories by Intan Rafiza

Other artists, too, expressed their ideas in a palette of ways.

Simon Soon examined the “Delectable Pastime of the Bourgeoisie” by playing Nintendo Wii’s Cooking Mama game with audience members.

Safriman and Ridfan’s “Lompat” invited the audience to scrawl words on the performer’s bare skin, while the latter blurted political statements at random.

"Lompat" by Safriman and Ridfan speaks out with the written word

Audience member Elaine Foster, 32, a spoken word performer and poet, has seen other performance art such as two people dancing in a sandbox in The Annexe, Central Market.

“There’s a fine line, I think, between theatre and performing art,” Foster said. “Yoko Ono was one of the first avant-garde performance artists, with performances like ‘Cut Piece’ and ‘The Wish Tree’.”

But while there are regulars in the local arts scene like Foster, Intan acknowledges that most Malaysians “lack a connection to performance art”.

She hopes “people will ask more questions” and learn more about the art.


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March 21, 2010

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March 18, 2010



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March 18, 2010

Oh my oh my why the girl so shy 😀

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March 6, 2010

Yellow rubber ducklings and test blogs are a calling.