Beyond the stage: Seni Tiga introduces new arts lab series to move forward

Without any live shows, the arts series Seni Tiga will turn into a performance lab project at the KongsiKL venue. Photo: KongsiKL

Kongsi Petak’s multidisciplinary show Seni Tiga, a collaborative performance series (focusing on movement, visual and sound) will now take on the form of a laboratory.

Called Seni Tiga Lab, the new iteration comes after only one Seni Tiga show was successfully staged, albeit virtually, last year (in December). It was called Seni Tiga#11: Dulu. Saat Itu., while seven others in the series have been postponed indefinitely.

Before the pandemic, Seni Tiga shows were always staged at the KongsiKL arts venue along Jalan Klang Lama.

With the uncertainty surrounding the state of the performing arts industry, Mah Jun Yi, Seni Tiga’s assistant producer, says this lab project is the best way to move forward now.

“We feel that it is time for the platform to take on another form. Live performances may not be relevant at this time, but that doesn’t mean that we should stop thinking and creating.

“So we want to participate in the search of new ways to create and collaborate, ” offers Mah.

There will be three units under Seni Tiga Lab, supported by the Boh Relief Fund, and each unit will comprise a mentor (different mentors in different units), three stage members and backbone members. Stage members and backbone members will receive a small token.

“With a mentor, Seni Tiga Lab aims to stimulate, nourish and elevate creative practice of participants through mutual artistic exchange with them.

“This is new to Seni Tiga because in the past two years, Kongsi Petak has been very careful not to intervene during the creative process, ” says Mah.

“Our focus in 2021 is artistic development in individuals and an addition of mentors in the programme can definitely help the entire team, not only the participants but backbone members and production team by bringing new perspectives to develop a piece, run a project and look at an issue. ”

There is an open call now for Unit A (submissions close on Feb 28) with veteran theatre actor/director Jo Kukathas as its mentor.

Seni Tiga's assistant producer Mah Jun Yi (left) with fellow assistant producer Low Pey Sien feel it's time the arts platform takes a new format. Photo: Niko LingSeni Tiga's assistant producer Mah Jun Yi (left) with fellow assistant producer Low Pey Sien feel it's time the arts platform takes a new format. Photo: Niko Ling

Mah says the selected participant for Unit A and Kukathas will work together and decide on the outcome of the format.

“So it can be a live performance, a research, an exhibition, installations, a series of workshops, a tour, a book, a video and so on. The outcome can also be a one-off or recurring event that is either long or short term, ” shares Mah.

About her role as a mentor, Kukathas shares that her job is to “offer some provocations, listen to the artists and ask questions of them at different stages of their process.”

“I’m also here to suggest things to read or watch or listen to or ideas to engage with. In that way I’ll be playing a dramaturgical role too.

“And finally I’m here to facilitate discussions between the artists as well as the ‘backbone’ people who are all part of this creative lab, ” says Kukathas.

In taking stock of the current pandemic climate and the unpredictable nature of the arts, Mah says Unit A, which will start on April 2, will run either online or on site.

Participants have to adapt to the situation and expected to be able to work both online and on site whenever possible.

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