The Collective Individual Exercise, 2017-2018
Isaac Chong Wai
Picture above was taken by Mariska Kerpel

The Collective Individual Exercises is a series of performance in public space dealing with the concepts of individualism versus collectivism, and the personal versus the public. 

"When it comes to the idea of the future, how can we prepare and practice the search for an idealistic space or a utopia in which everyone means everyone and public means public? ‘Everyone’ has never been meant to be everyone, and public has never been an absolute public. Social space is constructed through ideological and even linguistic hierarchies, racism, alienation, discrimination, classes, and divisions. In my project, I aim to change the future instead of celebrating current norms."

Working with individuals from diverse backgrounds, Chong Wai’s performances will feature a large-scale group exercise in which people try to stand at the same collective height by adjusting their own heights, a “laughing choir” in which individuals’ laughs are imitated in turn, and a walking piece in which performers begin walking at their own pace, but finish standing together in a line.

National Anthems Exercise, 2017

People are invited from different backgrounds to come together and sing their own national anthems at the same time while they can echo or imitate other people's songs during the performance. The performance aims at revealing the nationalized body in our contemporary world whereas one is likely taught of national anthem while one remembers or slightly remembers how to sing the songs. The work reconstructs the raison d'être of national anthem without being able to forget its existence in the world as a form to construct identity.


Walking Exercise, 2017
People walk simultaneously with the same rhythm. Slowly, people try to walk in different groups. And in the end, everyone walks in the same line with the same rhythm.

Hugging Exercise, 2018
Performers are asked to hug in a crowd. After a while, the performers who are inside the performance leave their position and find someone in the outside to hug with. The performer who was hugging someone should stay the posture as if he or she is still hugging someone (hugging air). An organic installation is then created that, performers are always looking for someone to hug with while sometimes hugging no one - performing the posture of hugging.

Falling and Getting Up, 2018

Performers are invited to hold each other hands and each person should hold hand with two people. While the performers are holding hands, a crowd with everyone holding hands is formed. Once the crowd is formed, the performers are slowly falling down. Each performer gets up without loosing his or her hands randomly during the performance. In the last round of the getting up, the performers will stay still in the performance until everyone gets up. By the end, audience will see the performers standing in a random order and gradually all performers stand. Then performers slowly loose their hands and leave.


Laughing Exercise, 2017

One person laughs and everyone imitate the person’s laugh and laughing altogether for 10 to 15 times. Then, another person will laugh, and every imitate the person’s laugh and laughing altogether for again 10 to 15 times. Afterwards, another person will come and give the laugh and the whole set will repeat itself for 10 times.