Kowloon - Silvia Santillana review and critique


"… A disturbing, magical, overwhelming staging, where the harmony of the parts becomes tangible in the eyes of the beholder through the movements, stillness and silences of its players, plus an impeccable technical apparatus, which acts as a catalyst for the most primary pulsations of the human being"


Esta es la traducción del artículo de Silvia Santillana sobre Kowloon,  de LRM Locus, publicado en Va de Arte – 

This is the English translation of the review of Kowloon by Silvia Santillana published at Va de Arte: 

Silvia Santillana is an Art Historian specialized on critique and cultural communication. She is editor at El Cultural (El Mundo newspaper) and at the digital plattform QAH Patrimonio.

Spanish version :


KOWLOON,  OR LRM LOCUS'  IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE 

June 24, 2016



     When the lights go out, darkness overwhelms us, our senses sharpen up. An indescribable feeling surrounds us. A powerful impression lurks in the shadows. We do not know where we are or where we are going. Suddenly, a light constricts our pupils projecting us into an intense, imponderable glow wrappping up an illusory space full of lights and sounds. It's Kowloon (2015), the latest work from the LRM Performance (Locus) collective.


Kowloon is everything and nothing at the same time. A disturbing, magical, overwhelming staging in which the harmony of the parts becomes tangible in the eyes of the beholder through movements, stillness and silences of its players, plus an impeccable technical apparatus which acts as a catalyst for the most primary pulsations of the human being. There is something in Kowloon of a primeval state, of a chrysalis or an amphibian, a transitory state towards another something fleeing the anecdotal and connected to multiple underlying ideas. That idea, those traces of physical and eidetic experiences like frames of a movie or prefigured memories create a lattice, a hive of invertebrate creatures and indefinable shapes, escaping all logic and any categorization.





In Kowloon the idea of ​​the occult, of assembling images and materials compounds the essence of the creative process of this group formed by the performers David Aladro-Vico, composer, and Berta Delgado, visual artist, along with the guest movement performer for this piece, Chen Zhihan. A multidisciplinary work that shuns the traditional and present performance art trend of minimalist space and naked body.  Here, space is a labyrinth, an illusion, where the three performers may get lost, metamorphose, turn into hundreds, into one, or into none. A space that creates new perceptions with screens and mechanisms, revealing a pristine truth through its disguise,  one we can only access through art.


The idea of an ​​indefinable organism, which is cellular and mechanical at the same time is also present in this suffocating space inside the studio and in the beholder's mind; an immersive experience of 56 minutes and 22 scenes, which alludes to the Walled city of Kowloon (Hong Kong), demolished in 1994.

This fort created in the seventeenth century eventually became a Chinese enclave within British territory. Its structure began to grow after World War II, becomng a maze of buildings, one above the other, densely populated, a tangle of conducts, cables and pipes; a jumble of forms where sunlight barely penetrated. This phenomenon was documented in books and films, whose images remain in the memory through various cultural events such as Hong Kong cinema.

But above all, it is the spiritual atmosphere of Kowloon, through artificial lights and sounds, taken and altered from nature itself, which impresses us and puts us in touch with some eastern thought, not only from Hong Kong, but from different sources and locations. Thus Paprika anime film creator Satoshi Kon or master Lao Tse's basics of Taoist philosophy  seem to be present in Kowloon; a performance  disregarding no popular, current or traditional characteristics of Asian culture.

In that mélange of refined, frantic movements, endless lights and sounds, one also seems to contemplate the beginning of civilization itself, being part of the time when Prometheus stole fire from the gods to deliver his gift to mortals. With this action, the protagonist was punished to remain chained in an eternal torment and regeneration cycle which we cannot ignore in this LRM Locus' chaotic and mystical experience, making it clear their influences come not just from the Kowloon peninsula or Asia, but  from human beings and their emotions.



According to LRM Performance (Locus) collective's account :

"Our work seeks unmediated emotions, therefore expressly avoids narration by including the widest possible set of influences, carefully assembled to generate emotions instead of a thread or concept."


Thus, the "Anarchitecture" Gordon Matta-Clark or northern Finland's Onkalo nuclear repository  are just some of the images that make up the universe of Kowloon. In a mix of chance or fate, LRM Performance (Locus) studio is in Usera, the neighborhood with the highest number of chinese settlers from the Canton province in Madrid, along with many  other expatriates from around the world.

Traveling between the physical boundaries of the current political map we realize everything is possible within the human mind; Kowloon is proof of that. Any interpretation is free, and all creative work aims at giving wings to the imagination of the viewer; something LRM Performance -Locus not only achieved but exceeded, by referring us to a pure and chaotic state through the immersive experience of their toiled and wonderful work. "

Silvia Santillana 


Marie-Claire Decay (Museo Salvador Victoria) on LRM Performance / Locus

We had our presence at ARCO –Madrid's big contemporary Art Fair: Marie Claire Decay , president of the Salvador Victoria Foundation discussing on "Current validity of abstract Art" included us LRM Performance-Locus as "new trends in abstraction" 

Tuvimos nuestra presencia en ARCO - la gran feria de arte contemporáneo en Madrid: Marie Claire Decay, presidenta de honor de la Fundación Salvador Victoria incluyó a LRM Performance - Locus como "nuevas tendencias en abstracción" dentro de su conferencia "Vigencia del Arte Abstracto en 2017"



Marie Claire Decay on LRM Performance - ARCO 2017

LRM Locus reviewed in PAC : Young spanish performers you should know


"Diez jóvenes performance españoles que debes conocer" 
artículo en Plataforma de Arte Contemporáneo (PAC), ahí estamos. 

"Ten young Spanish performance you should know about" [sic] 
We LRM Locus are there, at PAC (Contemporary Art Platform) (in spanish):

Translation:   
LRM Performance is an interdisciplinary collective formed by Berta Delgado and David Aladro-Vico, with the collaboration of Chen Zhi-han. 
Their works are abstract, not narrative or conceptual. Transdisciplinary performances  that will not leave you indifferent, where we can find music, light, dance and projections


http://www.plataformadeartecontemporaneo.com/pac/10-jovenes-performance-espanoles-que-debes-conocer/

Kowloon - El Estado Mental magazine - critique


This is the translation of the critique 
– almost an essay– on LRM Locus'  Kowloon, by Angel Alonso, 
published in the magazine El Estado Mental, aug 27th 2016

Esta es la crítica – casi un ensayo– de Angel Alonso sobre 
Kowloon de LRM Locus, 
recién publicado en la revista  El Estado Mental 
– puedes leerlo aquí



There is a backdrop

Kowloon, by LRM Performance-Locus
Angel Alonso


LRM Performance - Locus invited me few weeks ago to a private pass of their new work, entitled 'Kowloon'. I did not know what was I going to witness. I had only seen some photographs. In addition, members of LRM Locus  told me about their interest in Tsai Ming-liang, Roy Andersson, Andrei Tarkovsky, Apichatpong Weerasethakul or Fruit Chan's films. Perhaps that is why I began to wonder how invoking the cinematic memory within the transience of a performance would be. And it certainly stirred such visual memory, but in a much different way than I could have imagined.

Somehow, for this text I try to follow their work's game proposal and build up a non-narrative description of the piece. Therefore, in the following lines descriptions of specific moments of the piece are mixed with personal references to the world that  was stirred up in me when attempting to come back to Kowloon.



Before me, a closed drape. And behind it some sort of corridor. There has to be a wall at the end. But I cannot see it and I want to touch it, when suddenly comes to my mind a television image which may not exist but I want to remember: someone runs down a corridor which ending wall inescapably falls away.

I need to remember that image because I also need to touch what just appeared between the backdrop and that wall I feel moving away. But I can't, and because of it, I remember. Perhaps next time I may be able to touch that threatening, virginal and set adrift realm. Yes, perhaps the next step of LRM Locus will be allowing me to touch what I believe are sea creatures or arborescent crustacea. Or maybe they will allow me to caress and look carefully at it all when the lights come back on and Kowloon is gone. But I'm still in the darkness and I feel the sea so close inside the hall  that the sound of a door is like a ship about to wreck to me. Threatening worlds  you want to get closer to, a bit like what happened to David Drayton in The Mist (Frank Darabont, 2007), when he got out of a car and watched the solemn wandering gigantic creatures coming with mist from another world destroying anyone who dared in.

Kowloon seems also menacing, yet some drops dripping from it and a glimpse between its darkness make it more beautiful than sinister. Three body shaped drops walking around an ocean expelled as to pack it with walls, ratlines or sails to unfurl while the wind is being counted.

Those bodies also fear the sea and its creatures, they look at it downcast and in  quick glances,  discovering it in flashes of light. They may be inside an animal, as they  say Jonah was in a whale. Sometimes they touch the creature and the inside of her womb, or go to the remains of their wrecked barge.

One of them tapped a wall. Looks with its hands, not its eyes. And I feel the joy of hands sliding to touch, just for such joy, fear and faith they have when facing the unexplored, now that their eyes did not succeed in gazing and felt beaten from the distance by something unknown. Hands raised towards a new world, as if this quite determined item towards which we project [1] requests it, and they had to respond,  touching, to the call of the seemingly ignoble materials of Kowloon.

while hands are raining,
light hands, selfish hands, obscene hands,
waterfalls of hands that once were
flowers in the garden of a tiny pocket. [2]




Long time must have passed since I found them at the bottom of that ocean, for suddenly the flowers appear scattered over the body of one of the inhabitants of Kowloon. And the flowers are different, and also fossilized because, in a muddy cave on a remote system or at the bottom of the ocean, minutes are traveled as decades. Bodies that lost their human appearance in a liquid world –for the sea can do anything, as Ariel said to Ferdinand in The Tempest (William Shakespeare, 1611) with a ballad tone that always comes to me when a person is masked with plastics resembling lichens:

Full fathom five thy father lies; 
              Of his bones are coral made; 
    Those are pearls that were his eyes: 
              Nothing of him that doth fade, 
    But doth suffer a sea-change 
    Into something rich and strange. [3]

Then again, how long have they been in Kowloon so that their bodies changed? How much time did unfold before me while lights blink on and off? Did their bodies journey through the different ages of that world or did they simply create new galleries that take it away from me and it becomes strange again? Or maybe I did not even see the same bodies all the time and before me passed, generation after generation, all descendants of those three beings who arrived there one day.

I believe every slight flash of light showing me again that corridor which wall I still cannot gaze at, was enshrining all the Kowloons I once lived in as a traveler or watched on a screen. The experience of shutting and opening your eyes -of interrupted lights - placed me beyond any chronology and yet, allowed me to remember all the stories and lives I inadvertently wished for. It was only a fifty minute trip and escape. While that piece of Hong Kong made me open my eyes to shut them out immediately, the experienced sensation of light taking place at a given time was the condensation of an extraordinarily incomprehensible story, which unfolded in a stumbling world I could only snatch a wisp from.

There lie, succeeding each other, trillions of oscillations, that is, a series of events such that if I wanted to count them, even with the greatest possible economy of time, would require thousands of years. [4]



Images from Kowloon, by LRM performance–Locus, (2016) 
and The Mist (Frank Darabont, 2007)


[1]  Merleau-Ponty, Maurice, Phénoménologie de la Perceptión (1945)

[2] Cernuda, Luis,  Qué ruido tan triste (1931)

[3] Shakespeare, William,  The Tempest (1611), Ariel's  Song

[4] Bergson, Henri, L'Énergie spirituelle (1919)

Kowloon - El Estado Mental magazine - critique


This is the translation of the critique 
– almost an essay– on LRM Locus'  Kowloon, by Angel Alonso, 
published in the magazine El Estado Mental, aug 27th 2016




There is a backdrop

Kowloon, by LRM Performance-Locus
Angel Alonso


LRM Performance - Locus invited me few weeks ago to a private pass of their new work, entitled 'Kowloon'. I did not know what was I going to witness. I had only seen some photographs. In addition, members of LRM Locus  told me about their interest in Tsai Ming-liang, Roy Andersson, Andrei Tarkovsky, Apichatpong Weerasethakul or Fruit Chan's films. Perhaps that is why I began to wonder how invoking the cinematic memory within the transience of a performance would be. And it certainly stirred such visual memory, but in a much different way than I could have imagined.

Somehow, for this text I try to follow their work's game proposal and build up a non-narrative description of the piece. Therefore, in the following lines descriptions of specific moments of the piece are mixed with personal references to the world that  was stirred up in me when attempting to come back to Kowloon.



Before me, a closed drape. And behind it some sort of corridor. There has to be a wall at the end. But I cannot see it and I want to touch it, when suddenly comes to my mind a television image which may not exist but I want to remember: someone runs down a corridor which ending wall inescapably falls away.

I need to remember that image because I also need to touch what just appeared between the backdrop and that wall I feel moving away. But I can't, and because of it, I remember. Perhaps next time I may be able to touch that threatening, virginal and set adrift realm. Yes, perhaps the next step of LRM Locus will be allowing me to touch what I believe are sea creatures or arborescent crustacea. Or maybe they will allow me to caress and look carefully at it all when the lights come back on and Kowloon is gone. But I'm still in the darkness and I feel the sea so close inside the hall  that the sound of a door is like a ship about to wreck to me. Threatening worlds  you want to get closer to, a bit like what happened to David Drayton in The Mist (Frank Darabont, 2007), when he got out of a car and watched the solemn wandering gigantic creatures coming with mist from another world destroying anyone who dared in.

Kowloon seems also menacing, yet some drops dripping from it and a glimpse between its darkness make it more beautiful than sinister. Three body shaped drops walking around an ocean expelled as to pack it with walls, ratlines or sails to unfurl while the wind is being counted.

Those bodies also fear the sea and its creatures, they look at it downcast and in  quick glances,  discovering it in flashes of light. They may be inside an animal, as they  say Jonah was in a whale. Sometimes they touch the creature and the inside of her womb, or go to the remains of their wrecked barge.

One of them tapped a wall. Looks with its hands, not its eyes. And I feel the joy of hands sliding to touch, just for such joy, fear and faith they have when facing the unexplored, now that their eyes did not succeed in gazing and felt beaten from the distance by something unknown. Hands raised towards a new world, as if this quite determined item towards which we project [1] requests it, and they had to respond,  touching, to the call of the seemingly ignoble materials of Kowloon.

while hands are raining,
light hands, selfish hands, obscene hands,
waterfalls of hands that once were
flowers in the garden of a tiny pocket. [2]




Long time must have passed since I found them at the bottom of that ocean, for suddenly the flowers appear scattered over the body of one of the inhabitants of Kowloon. And the flowers are different, and also fossilized because, in a muddy cave on a remote system or at the bottom of the ocean, minutes are traveled as decades. Bodies that lost their human appearance in a liquid world –for the sea can do anything, as Ariel said to Ferdinand in The Tempest (William Shakespeare, 1611) with a ballad tone that always comes to me when a person is masked with plastics resembling lichens:

Full fathom five thy father lies; 
              Of his bones are coral made; 
    Those are pearls that were his eyes: 
              Nothing of him that doth fade, 
    But doth suffer a sea-change 
    Into something rich and strange. [3]

Then again, how long have they been in Kowloon so that their bodies changed? How much time did unfold before me while lights blink on and off? Did their bodies journey through the different ages of that world or did they simply create new galleries that take it away from me and it becomes strange again? Or maybe I did not even see the same bodies all the time and before me passed, generation after generation, all descendants of those three beings who arrived there one day.

I believe every slight flash of light showing me again that corridor which wall I still cannot gaze at, was enshrining all the Kowloons I once lived in as a traveler or watched on a screen. The experience of shutting and opening your eyes -of interrupted lights - placed me beyond any chronology and yet, allowed me to remember all the stories and lives I inadvertently wished for. It was only a fifty minute trip and escape. While that piece of Hong Kong made me open my eyes to shut them out immediately, the experienced sensation of light taking place at a given time was the condensation of an extraordinarily incomprehensible story, which unfolded in a stumbling world I could only snatch a wisp from.

There lie, succeeding each other, trillions of oscillations, that is, a series of events such that if I wanted to count them, even with the greatest possible economy of time, would require thousands of years. [4]



Images from Kowloon, by LRM performance–Locus, (2016) 
and The Mist (Frank Darabont, 2007)


[1]  Merleau-Ponty, Maurice, Phénoménologie de la Perceptión (1945)

[2] Cernuda, Luis,  Qué ruido tan triste (1931)

[3] Shakespeare, William,  The Tempest (1611), Ariel's  Song

[4] Bergson, Henri, L'Énergie spirituelle (1919)

The Lighting Mind Magazine- Diego Fraile: Kowloon

Diego Fraile, art historian and journalist wrote this wonderful critique of Kowloon for The Lighting Mind Magazine:




The Reverie of Kowloon, LRM Performance's new project

     "I'm in complete darkness. Behind me, just the pulse of a clock that is synchronized with the beating I feel in my temples. Without a warning, I was blinded by the light. Pierced. With the cadence imposed by roaring noise and ancient instruments, a beast formed of plastic shreds is advancing frontally with secure steps. At its feet, like the arcana of the devil, two figures crawling under the weight of the straps. While green and golden rays of light penetrate the space around me, I struggle between consciousness and the abandonment of the senses. Finally, I let myself be dragged in. I'm in Kowloon.


Berta Delgado, David Aladro-Vico and Zhihan Chen, also known as LRM Performance (Locus) are flesh and blood. However, when their new project Kowloon comes alive, they dissolve into light and sound, actions and emotions. But, despite what this partnership with the immaterial might suggest, the experience of Kowloon holds a tension between the visceral and the purely mental. David Aladro-Vico told us that with this kind of art they sought to break the pervasive and ubiquitous mediation of screens in life and aesthetics. There certainly is depth in Kowloon. Lighting effects and soundtrack surround you and cause a physiological reaction. There is no interaction with the public and the vision is unique and frontal, but the viewer is organically transported in there. It is a physical and sensory experience.




During the development of the piece, I could not help thinking of the realm of dreams. LRM Locus consider narrative an impediment for aesthetic and emotional reception. You cannot make a story of what you are seeing, you can only surrender to the pleasure of the moment and the sublime imagery. As the sleeper awakes and vainly tries to fetch from his memory the dream just parading through his subconsciousness, the Kowloon experience resists being told. Like dreams, it can only be experienced. It is this relationship with the dream which helps to explain the strong sense of distance and at the same time, of participation in the dancing afterglows. 

Gaston Bachelard in The Poetics of reverie, tries to capture the wonderful poetic potential of that moment between sleep and consciousness in which neither of the two planes has yet complete power over the other. The moment when, for Bachelard, poetic creation was possible. Kowloon exerts a spell of reverie.



Kowloon comes together in a melting pot of influences from different media, with predominance of asian references, of which its creators speak about without fear. In a time when virtually access to all culture is within the reach of a click, it is absurd to consider yourself a great demiurge. There is much more value in receiving, processing and creation of a new piece through personal baggage. As it always has been said of Picasso, it does not matter how many images he absorbs, but how he digested them. But make no mistake, Kowloon is not a collage of quotations. The iconography –which takes place in scenes combining lights, projections, sounds and actions in the guise of film sequences– constantly amazes and astonishes our eyes and minds.


Retrieving Bachelard once again, he believed the moment of reverie could not be something merely passive, but rather one "asking us to activate our participation in the creative imagination". There is where the magic of the piece lies; each one of us receives and constantly reconstructs it according to his or her own experiences and memories. Where some see the warmth of a post-apocalyptic desert, others see a cemetery of bones or a struggle between good and evil. 
The viewer dwells in Kowloon. The creative act not only derives from its creators, but it continues inside those who experience the work. Therefore, Kowloon, which has no narrative, can not be narrated. It must be lived"

Kowloon, by LRM Locus: - Crítica / Critique- Interartive Magazine

English below

Esta es la crítica de Kowloon que ha escrito Paz Olivares para la revista Interartive Magazine



Kowloon, de LRM Performance /Locus: 
rodaje de lo subterráneo

He tenido la suerte de haber sido invitada a uno de los open studio de LRM Performance (ó "Locus") en los que muestran su recién terminado trabajo "Kowloon" a prensa, historiadores o comisarios. Es una experiencia muy personal pues su principal línea de creación consiste en que el trabajo no posea concepto ni narratividad, siendo el observador el que los crea, si lo así desea. De esta forma tras ver el trabajo invitan a liberar esa parte atávica de nosotros que se rige por la emoción y la intuición, por la piel. 
Este es el proceso por el que intento llegar a mi propio resultado.  

Es conocido cómo David Lynch, siendo estudiante de Bellas Artes, dio con la clave de lo que buscaba en la pintura cuando uno de sus lienzos se movió por efecto de una leve ráfaga de viento. Esa oscilación provocó en los trazos un efecto inquietante del que antes carecían. La abstracción había cobrado vida. El mismo Lynch lo explica así: “Quería conseguir un tono, como si La Mona Lisa abriera la boca y se girase y entonces escucháramos el sonido del viento, y luego volviéramos a la posición de origen y sonriera de nuevo.” El mayor hallazgo de Lynch son esas abstracciones, esas escenas sin contexto, esos cuadros en movimiento que cambiaron la forma de hacer y entender el cine.

Pues bien, aunque en Kowloon la influencia oriental es obvia desde el mismo nombre de la producción, hay mucho del legado posmoderno occidental del que la abstracción pictórica en movimiento de David Lynch es sólo una referencia mínima. La interdisciplinaridad, el ensamblaje heterogéneo de influencias,  corrientes y culturas que, a priori, parecen tener poco que ver, hacen de Kowloon una pieza original y valiente dentro del arte performativo actual. 

Así, la importancia capital del sonido en Kowloon nos lleva al cine surrealista europeo (pienso en el René Clair, de Entr’Acte (1924), por ejemplo) o a esos cortometrajes del joven Lynch –Six figures getting sick six times (1966) fue el primero–, pero de igual forma nos remite a la concepción sagrada del primer sonido creador en las religiones orientales. Y es que si en la cultura judeo-cristiana en el principio fue el Verbo, en la budista-hinduista fue el sonido. Por esto en Kowloon el sonido no acompaña sino que sustenta, envuelve, configura, es una vibración que describe el espacio, que forma parte de él y lo hace visible. El sonido es pieza vital del conjunto. Una pieza que no describe ni explica nada. Se limita a provocar un estado de conciencia en el espectador sostenido en la atención extrema, en la alerta. Son sonidos que no acabamos de identificar aunque en realidad reproduzcan grabaciones del Metro de Madrid, del bullicio y la confusión de las calles de Hong Kong, de la algarabía de las voces orientales de taxistas, de las de pájaros o grillos, de estruendos metálicos y sonidos orgánicos, casi táctiles que, de pronto,  parecen quebrar el espacio como el corazón de un iceberg. Y todo ese ruido busca anular las referencias, el hilo discursivo… El pensamiento se suspende, la razón se aturde. Sólo queda sentir. Aparece entonces la inquietud, la extrañeza, el temor, el asombro o la angustia que van sucediéndose y solapándose a medida que el montaje discurre, a medida que el sonido se expande. 

Kowloon trastoca todo. Tiempo y Espacio se ponen en juego. Decía Walter Benjamin que “el carácter destructivo sólo conoce una consigna: hacer sitio; sólo una actividad: despejar. (…) Hace sombras de lo existente, y no por los escombros mismos, sino por el camino que pasa a través de ella.” Es la misma idea que sustentaba la Anarquitectura de Gordon Matta-Clark (1943-1978)  y de la que Kowloon se apropia a la hora de iluminar y reconfigurar el espacio: buscando el elemento ignorado, dirigiendo la mirada hacia lo oculto o parcelando el espacio para recomponerlo de nuevo y así mostrar su extrema fragilidad. LRM Performance utiliza los materiales como Matta-Clark utilizaba los picos y palas. Y al fragmentarse el espacio también lo hace el tiempo pues ambas dimensiones están unidas. El sonido nos lo recuerda de forma constante. 




En una de las escenas más evocadoras y líricas de Kowloon, una mujer avanza lentamente, tanto como el monje de Tsai Ming-Liang en Walker (2012), que hacía del gesto consciente toda una filosofía vital. La mujer está rodeada de vegetación y se escucha el canto de los pájaros. La escena se muestra a través de sombras chinescas y se enmarca con dos lienzos blancos en la parte superior e inferior del cuadro respectivamente. El espectador parece encontrarse de pronto sentado frente a una pantalla de cine en la que lo que está viendo, en realidad, no es la imagen proyectada sobre esa pantalla sino el espacio mismo en el que el cuerpo de la bailarina se desplaza. 

Una vez más, las sombras chinescas que remiten a la cultura oriental se funden con el concepto del cine tan afín a los inicios del cinematógrafo en Europa. Es inevitable imaginar a Georges Mèliés descubriendo esas sombras en Le Chat Noir, ideando fantasmas y hadas a través del celuloide. Lo mágico en esa escena delicadísima de Kowloon aparece a través de un espacio que se modifica según se inclinan los lienzos. Es así como lo bidimensional de la imagen se colma ante nuestros ojos de horizontes infinitos.  Lo plano se despliega, se amplía, se multiplica, cobra profundidad. La sombra se hace cuerpo y los lienzos que antes simulaban una pantalla se transforman en alas o velas que se agitan acompasados por los brazos de la bailarina.

Estas escenas de transición que estarían destinadas a deshacer lo representado se convierten en lo más valioso, en mi opinión, de Kowloon. En la misma destrucción reside la continuidad, que no es sino el origen de la siguiente escena. Se muestra el montaje, no se esconde. Ese es el mayor logro de Kowloon: exhibir el proceso mismo del guion, la estructura y el andamiaje de la producción. De hecho, los ensayos se graban en vídeo, de modo que lo que vemos es la escenificación en directo de un audiovisual donde los cortes de las secuencias, esto es, la edición, cobra relevancia. El tiempo, el ritmo del rodaje se muestra en el mismo espacio donde discurre, lo que daría para una reflexión profunda sobre la percepción misma del Tiempo cuando éste cobra protagonismo al trastocarse las magnitudes espaciales. No es este el lugar para ello. Sólo un apunte, recordando las palabras de Didi-Huberman: “El acorde fundamental que se oye resonar sin cesar a través de la masa del tiempo (…) toma aquí la forma de una onda que hay que entender como onda de choque y como proceso de fractura.” Sí, de nuevo el sonido.
Y toda esta destrucción formal, toda la angustia y la claustrofobia, toda la oscuridad, toda la atmósfera subterránea que a veces inquieta y deslumbra como en la cueva de Apichatpong Weerasethakul en Tío Boonmee recuerda sus vidas pasadas (2010) otras ahoga como en la ciudad opresiva del Blade Runner (1982) de Ridley Scott y otras atemoriza como ante la entrada cubierta de plásticos del cementerio nuclear de Onkalo de Into Eternity (Michael Madsen, 2010), (umbral en el que solo cabe abandonar toda esperanza, por cierto)… ¿Adónde nos lleva?

No hay respuestas en Kowloon. Cada espectador obtendrá una experiencia única y cientos de interpretaciones, explicaciones o traducciones posibles, todas subjetivas. Comparto una de las mías: Puede que nos lleve a situar nuestro cuerpo como referencia central;  A olvidar las magnitudes y límites, convenciones, influencias, teorías e ideas que nos separan de nuestro ser intuitivo, el que conecta con la piel y la emoción. Y puede también que nos lleve a recordar aquello que hace miles de años nos impulsó a tiznarnos los dedos y a manchar la pared húmeda de alguna cueva en Sulawesi o Cantabria.

PAZ OLIVARES




Kowloon, by LRM Locus:  
filming the underground

         I was lucky to be guest on one of LRM Performance (aka Locus) open studio sessions in which they present their latest piece, "Kowloon" to press, historians or curators. It's a quite presonal experience, since their main creative aim is on having no concept nor narrative into the work, thus allowing the observer to create them, if they will. So in this guise the compell you to liberate that primeval part of us all ruled by emotion, by intuition, by our skin. 

This is the process by which I try to reach my own outcome. 

It is known how David Lynch, as a student of Fine Arts, found the key to what he wanted in painting when one of his paintings moved by the effect of a slight gust of wind. That oscillation caused a previously lacking disturbing effect in the strokes  Abstraction came to life.  Lynch himself explains it this way: "I wanted to get a tone, as if Mona Lisa opened up her mouth and turned and then listened to the sound of the wind, and then turned back to the starting position and smiled again" The major finding of Lynch are such abstractions, such scenes without context, those frames in motion that changed our way of making and understanding cinema.

Well, although in Kowloon the oriental influence is obvious from the very name of production, there is much of the Western postmodern legacy from which David Lynch's moving abstract painting is only a small reference. Interdisciplinarity, the heterogeneous assemblage of influences, currents and cultures that a priori seem to have little in common makes Kowloon an original and brave piece in today's performance art.

Thus, the capital importance of sound in Kowloon bring us back to european surrealist films (I am thinking of René Clair's  Entr'Acte (1924), for instance) or those young Lynch short films (Six Figures Getting sick Six times (1966) was the first one), but It also reminds us of the sacred concept of the primal creative sound in eastern religions. And if in Judeo-Christian culture in the beginning was the Word, in the Buddhist-Hindu it was the sound. Thus in Kowloon sound does not simply accompanies; it supports, wraps, configures, it is a vibration describing the space, it is part of it and makes it visible. 
The sound is a vital part of the whole. A part that does not describe nor explain anything. It merely provokes a state of consciousness in the viewer based on extreme attention, on alert. These are sounds we do not  clearly identify, although they actually are recordings of Madrid's Metro, the bustle and confusion of the streets of Hong Kong, the hubbub of eastern voices of taxi drivers, of birds or crickets, metallic rumblings and organic sounds, almost tactile, which suddenly seem to break up the space like the core of an iceberg. And all that noise aims at preventing references, the discursive thread ... your thought is suspended, your reason stunned. Only sentience remains. Restlessness, strangeness, fear, surprise or distress appear, occurring and overlapping as the montage goes on, as the sound is expanding.

Kowloon overturns everything. Time and space are at stake. Walter Benjamin said "the destructive character knows only one watchword: make room; only one activity: clearing (...) it shadows what exists, and not by the very debris, but by the road passing through it". It's the same idea underpinning the Anarchitecture of Gordon Matta-Clark (1942-1978) and which Kowloon appropriates when it comes to light up and reconfigure space: to look for the unknown element, directing our gaze to the occult or parceling out space to recompose it again and thus showing its extreme fragility. LRM Performance uses materials just as Matta-Clark used picks and shovels. And by fragmenting space, time also does for both dimensions are linked. Sound is constantly reminding us of that.




In one of the most evocative and lyrical scenes of Kowloon, a woman (performed by Zhihan Chen) trudges by, like the monk in Tsai Ming-Liang's Walker (2012), who is  consciously making such gesture as a whole philosophy of life. The woman is surrounded by greenery and birdsong is heard. The scene is presented through shadow puppets and framed within two white canvases at the top and bottom of the picture. The viewer seems to be suddenly sitting in front of a film screen in which what you see is not, in fact,  the image projected on the screen but the very space itself in which the body of the dancer is advancing. 

Again, the shadow play referring to Eastern culture merges with a concept of cinema akin to the beginnings of european cinematography. It is inevitable to imagine Georges Melies discovering such shadows in Le Chat Noir, thinking up spirits and fairies through the celluloid. The magic in this delicate scene of Kowloon appears through a space that is modified as the canvases slant. It is as if the two-dimensional image before our eyes becomes full of infinite horizons. What is plain unfolds, expands, multiplies, acquiring depth. The shadow becomes a body and the canvases previously simulating a screen transform into wings or sails, trembling rhythmcally by the arms of the dancer.

Those transition scenes supposedly designed to undo what was pictured become in my opinion, the most valuable ones of Kowloon. Continuity resides in such destruction itself, which is nothing but the origin of the next scene. Assembling is shown, not hided away. That is the greatest achievement of Kowloon: to display the process itself of the script, its structure and production scaffolding. In fact, tests were videotaped so what we see is a live staging of cuts from audiovisual sequences, –i.e. editing becomes relevant. The timing, pacing of shootings is displayed in the same space where they happen, which would lead to deep reflection on the very perception of Time when Space magnitudes are altered. This is not the place to discuss it. Just a sidenote, recalling the words of Didi-Huberman: "The fundamental chord that is heard echoing endlessly through the mass of time [...] takes here the form of a wave that must be understood as shock wave and as a fracturing process". Yes, once again,  sound.

And all this formal destruction, all the anguish and claustrophobia, all darkness, all the underground atmosphere sometimes restless and dazzling like Apichatpong Weerasethakul's cave in Uncle Boonmee who can remember his past lives (2010), others drowning like the oppressive city of Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (1982) and other times terryfying as before the plastic covered entrance of the Onkalo nuclear cemetery in Michael Madsen's  into Eternity (2010) (a threshold at which one can only abandon all hope, by the way) ... where does this leads to?

There are no answers in Kowloon. Each viewer will get a unique experience and hundreds of interpretations, explanations or possible translations, all of them subjective. I am sharing one of mine: it might lead us to put our body as a central reference; to forget the magnitudes and bounds, conventions, influences, theories and ideas that separate us from our intuitive self, the one connecting with our skin and our emotion. And perhaps it may lead us to remember that what thousands of years ago prompted us to make our fingers sooty and stain a humid wall in some Sulawesian or Cantabrian cave. 

Paz Olivares 

Julio Municio- Kowloon- Chinalati web


Julio Municio, especialista en arte chino de Why On White 
escribe sobre "Kowloon" de LRM Locus 
para la web de cultura china Chinalati

"Sin duda una gran obra de producción con meses de trabajo a sus espaldas que merece la pena ser disfrutada por todos aquellos a los que nos apasiona la cultura asiática"

English below


    Julio Municio,  specialised in chinese Art from
Why On White writes about "Kowloon" by LRM Locus 

for the chinese culture web site  Chinalati

Original spanish version here


Kowloon
LRM Performance's piece ripe with asian influences

     "If you happen to work in cultural journalism and you are lucky to be in Madrid, maybe you can get the guys from LRM Performance -aka "Locus" - to invite you to attend one of their open rehearsals of Kowloon, their last performative piece based on the famous Hong Kong peninsula and mixing the traditions of western performance arts with aesthetics  ripe with asian references.

The piece, 56 minutes long and consisting of 22 sections which common thread is the music created by David Aladro-Vico, takes as its starting point the Walled City of Kowloon in Hong Kong, torn down in 1994 and now the Kowloon Walled City Park, which many of you surely have walked into. Kowloon was a political anomaly in Hong Kong, inherited from the imperial era, a sort conglomerate of immense variegated buildings barely lit up, with little ventilation, no running water and because of its 'lawless' locale condition housing a high amount of prostitutes, opium dens and dentists without qualification and was finally demolished in 1994 by Hong Kong authorities.

However if you are expecting to see a narrative piece representing the history of the city, put it out of your mind. Kowloon, like all previous LRM Locus' works, is based on a search of emotions through traditional and contemporary dance, art, movement, music or architecture, expressly avoiding a narrative by including the widest possible set of influences, carefully assembled to generate emotions instead of a thread or concept.

Influences may come from quite varied backgrounds, such as those referring to the work of architect and photographer Gordon Matta-Clark (1943-1978), but for us the most interesting are those from asian Art.




As for the music, influences from Pierre Henry, Phil Niblock or Alvin Lucier are mixed with material of asian origin: Indonesian Gamelan, Japanese Gagaku (the hichiriki and Sho), traditional chinese music (the Suona, the Hulusi, Xiaoluo gong), Thailand (gongs) and Hong Kong (Houguan).

Also, influences from Asian cinema such as the work of Taiwanese Tsai Ming-Liang reflected in the sense of framing, time and movement and the kind of actions of the characters, or references to nature sounds, spirits that appear and disappear and nonlinear narrative in the work of Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Influences of the work of Wong Kar-Wai are also present through a sense of light and architecture of Hong Kong. And even the Japanese animation film is present through influences from Hayao Miyazaki, Satoshi Kon or Koji Morimoto.

Finally, dance (superbly played by the young Chinese dancer Chen Zhihan) with careful and slow movements, also denotes the influence of the american Trisha Brown, the Japanese group of artists Dumb Type or the Legend Lin Dance Theater of Taiwan.

However all these influences are just for reference because this being a non-conceptual creative process, it is the viewers who must make their own associations and interpretations in a free way.

Definitely a great production work with months of toiling behind it,  
well worth enjoying by all of us who are passionate about Asian culture "