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Inspired by the Mambo Jambo nights at Zouk, Mambo Night for a King is a cheeky series of performances recorded on video and photographs of Singaporeans doing Mambo moves to texts drawn from Lee Kuan Yew’s From Third World to First: The Singapore Story.
These individuals are non-actors and non-artists, and are drawn from a series of workshops that explores ‘bad’ dancing and the creativity possible in quotation and paraphrasing. After a period of rehearsal, these workshop participants create their own Mambo moves to their private selection of words from this landmark work in Singapore hagiography.
“playfully iconoclastic, combining experimental theatre with social issues.”
- Ng Yi-Sheng, The Flying Inkpot, on Tongues
“an ambitious, gripping suite that masterfully combines childhood memories, pop culture and the political events of the late `80s.”
– Mayo Martin, TODAY, on The Monsters Between Us
Jason is an artist and writer who lives in Singapore and New York. Jason founded and runs Grey Projects, an art space and residency that focuses on nascent practices and experimental curatorship.
It may seem counter-intuitive, given the expressiveness of Mambo dancing, but the work necessitates silence from the performers, who will not be using their voices, only the voice of our ‘founding father’. The key idea in the work is to seek out the imaginative stances, movements and positions possible despite the loss of our voice, despite our familiarity with, and our mimicry of, the strong voice of our social and political authorities.
Jason Wee (Singapore)