Rehearsal of the Futures: Police Training Exercises, 2018
Isaac Chong Wai
Performance and Video
Commissioned by M+ Museum for M+ Live Art: Audience as Performer, 2018
Documented at Blindspot Gallery, Hong Kong
Photo/Video by CPAK Studio
Sound: Nobutaka Shomura
Performers: Marah Arcilla, Sylvie Cox, Calvin Tak Chi Ngan, Ong Tze Shen, Sarah Xiao Cheng Yong

Isaac Chong Wai takes the history of protests—through its repetitive expressions and actions—as a point of departure in this newly commissioned performance. Rehearsal of the Futures: Police Training Exercises is a continuation of Chong’s investigation into imagined futures and how, through certain movements and postures, past ideology can be interpreted and improved upon by future generations. Chong’s research into police training exercises around the world also questions the development of these actions and their intended use: are they meant as a first line of defence, or a last resort? Chong and a group of performers enact choreographed sets of movements based on past altercations at protest sites and training exercises taught at police academies, but at greatly reduced speeds. These acts are transformed into something new when drastically slowed down; aggressive posturing and the collision of bodies become poetic, gentle caresses. The slowness suspends time and changes the dimensions of reality, shifting perceptions of both viewer and performer so that the gestures are no longer seen as threatening, but rather as healing and comforting. Through such abstract and distorted motions, Chong asks whether beauty can be found in confrontation, and if such beauty can lead to reconciliation.