Asphalt Nature

By Yu Rainie Liu (Art and Theatre Management & Production, The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts), José Pino (Electroacoustic Composition/Guitar, Zurich University of the Arts), Xinyun Juliana Zhu (Choreography/Dance, The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts)


In the vicinity of the subconscious emerged the idea of a project centred on the development that has overrun nature, without realizing the result that has led us to coexist with this misunderstanding. The purpose of stopping this problem is reflected in very small groups of reflection. Still, this does not transcend towards a solution but is drowned in disassociation, the will extinguished by the need to survive.


The city as natural environment is quite normal to us. A woman with white dress seems to fall asleep in a green woven cage. What does she represent? Is this an art installation? Or is it performative art? When you hear breathing coming out in an unstable melody, you find that this woman is starting to tell her story. She tries to stand up but falls down again and again. Her body energy seems to be transmitting some kind of information. Is she bound by this green? Or is it her umbilical cord? Is she struggling? Or is she standing up with the power of green? In the falling, in the noise, in the insistence, she suddenly entered a phantom of architectures. Everything is disharmonious—the overtones, the body curves and the architectural forms indicate that there seems to be some kind of uneasiness, some kind of uncertainty and even some kind of crisis. She carefully passes through these buildings and consequently rushes into the crowd, but she still has nothing to rely on. What is she looking for? What is she telling us? Why does she return to the place where everything started in such a state of uneasiness—even if she is free of any restraint at this moment? Finally, we can see such a picture: in the darkness, the lights of high-rise buildings seem to illuminate the city and the natural world of the city. She, the woman in white, disappears in the city, leaving endless thinking.


Inspired by the relationship between nature and urbanity, the choreographer attempts to interpret the past and the present, the development and destruction, from the physical and rhythmic perspective of space and time, by looking back at the asphaltic and architectural city, compared with some past places we stayed. In the ideational beginning, there are several movement motivations: the meaning of energy, the duration of movement, the effort of struggling, the angle of falling. The movements form visual images that establish symbolic meaning for the audience. When the audience capture the simple information of green, architecture, woman, falling, struggling, their imagination starts to create the connections intended by the creators. In the production process, the use of movement balance, abstract meaning and unstable rhythm was a challenge for the choreographer. She had to question the very need of rhythm in the dancer’s movement, and if the rhythm should be translated into duration and speed. As a kind of site-specific artwork, we keep adjusting till the last movement adapts to this surrounding with our artistic expression and combining structural improvisation with live music, which is a kind of risk.

To read more about this group’s work process, please click here to read their portrait A day with….

Result/State of play

The soundscape was gathered exploring the twists and turns of downtown Hong Kong, just as a photographer would, but in this case with a recorder and microphone that will serve as a witness, as a listener, which will take shots, will be the observer.

The sound captured in the city of Hong Kong is one of the main materials on which we worked together with the dance in a process of dance-sound-experimentation, where the process is not necessarily worked as “subject-countersubject”. Without being carried away, it transforms, it changes its character, behaves like an organic body, which seeks to be part of a whole and not an individual thought.

Music will then be a game about structure, experimentation, improvisation, the art of feeling and live plenitude of the present moment.

This concept served as an archetype to build the music presented at the Kai Tak Campus Baptist University of Hong Kong along with the dance, in a wonderful experience on the organic envelope of the spontaneous transformation of the material, which served as a bridge to communicate a reflection on how nature will hear the human activity.