Loo Zihan (Singapore)


19 February 2012, 8pm
The Substation Theatre

R18: Nudity

(Festival Highlight / Fringe Commission / World Premiere /
Co-presented with The Substation)

In 1993, Singaporean artist Josef Ng's performance Brother Cane resulted in a public debate over obscenity in performance art and a subsequent ten-year restriction of the licensing and funding of performance art in Singapore.

Cane by Loo Zihan consists of a re-enactment of Brother Cane based on an eyewitness account by artist Ray Langenbach, a performative lecture reconstructing incidents surrounding the event based on various oral accounts, and pre-filmed segments with individuals involved in Brother Cane and performance art in Singapore. The work seeks not only to commemorate and honour the memory of this performance, but also to explore the possibility of representing performance art, a form often perceived as ephemeral or transient.

Relationship to Art & Faith

“In re-enacting Brother Cane, I am attempting to inhabit Josef’s experience in 1993. I am performing his actions, filtered through time, memory, eyewitness accounts, and the media. In a way, I am renewing my faith in this work, in the audience and in my nation.”

“I am placing my faith in performance art’s ability to exist illogically and impractically. This lack of logic and reason allows performance art to retain its power to challenge, remain pertinent and relational.”

“The audience will be complicit in the act of re-creation, with the knowledge of what is to come; their very act of viewing this performance gives me permission to proceed with this ritual. They will allow me to trim my pubic hair in a public space, they will allow me to singe my skin with a cigarette and they will allow me to say that sometimes, silent protest is not enough.”

“I question what the relationship of the Singaporean audience will be to Brother Cane 18 years on. Re-enacting this piece is the only way we can find the answer. I have faith that things have changed, and the artist who chooses to stand for his beliefs will no longer be silenced or exiled. I have faith in the power of art and the persistence of time to bring about this change.”

- Loo Zihan

Photo Credit for Cane 1 - 5: Miao Jiaxin