10 x 10 - A Choreographic Self- imposed Reading Project on 100 books in 10 Days (research stages)


10 x 10 Hong Kong

(10 -22 March 2015, WING – Platforme for Performance, Chaiwan Mei Design and Arts Festival, Hong Kong)

10 days 10 hours a day reading on 100 books borrowed from

10 choreographers in Hong Kong

This is a journey.  This is also a performative event.This is maybe a ritual. This is a self-imposed method to learn to read. This is definitely an art project. This is perhaps a non – intrusive way to get to know the choreographers in Hong Kong. This is an introspective way of reading myself through reading on other’s books. This is a very retrospective process. This is my way of searching a certain connection between text and body, internal space and external space, dance / literature.

This is my choreographic related project. Relating to Hong Kong.

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At the end of the project of 10 x 10 Hong Kong, WING Platform has decided to keep a collection of 10 books, one book from each choreographer’s 10 books to stay in the library of the art space as a permanent collection. My selection of the 10 books  are not intended to give any direct representation of the choreographers. More so, it is my connection meeting the choreographers and the books.

The 10 books selected are:

1.Remembering the Body, edited by Gabriele Brandstetter and Hortensia Volckers (Daniel Yeung)

2.论创作 , 高行健著 (Scarlet Yu)

3.孙子兵法 , 周广宇著 (Kelvin Mak)

4.Critical Moves by Randy Martin (Bruce Wong)

5.The Open Door by Peter Brook (Ong Yong Lock)

6.劉若瑀的三十六堂表演课 (Miranda Chin)

7.Catching the Big Fish – Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity by David Lynch (Elaine Kwok)

8.In Response to Place – Photographs from the Nature Conservancy’s Last Great Places (Pewan Chow)

9.Journals 1889 -1949 by Andre Gide (John Utans)

10.Mishima, A Biography by John Nathan (Yuri Ng)

Self-reflection from the artist:

Day 1  

Reading on Bruce Wong: 

Bruce and I do not know each other. We met 2 times for the 10 x 10 project. First, for a brief dinner in Wong Tai Xin MTR Mall and second, in City Contemporary  Dance Company lobby. Bruce Wong is a full-time dancer with CCDC. I was curious hearing about one of his choreography to get the dancers cooking chicken wings on stage. He questioned how swan is being gracefully portrayed in Ballet but a chicken is distorted in the sizzling fire on top of the charcoal could means to him. 

10x10 day 1 Bruce Today was a hard reading day. Kids screaming, people come and go.  Most importantly I am still adjusting myself with the books in this semi-private/public space. Questioning myself: what will happen to my readings…………..meanwhile setting ground rules, pacing my time for breaks and deciding if numbering structures in the entire reading duration is a fetish or it has a meaning?

10 pages in the end. I only read 1 page from one book, finally  10 pages from 10 books. It created waves in the library and also in my mind.

10 Books borrowed from Bruce Wong:

1. 劇場人纇學辭典 – 表演者的秘藝 by Eugenio Barba & Nicola Savarese
2. 舆神對話 I (上), 尼爾。唐納。 沃許著
3. 當下的力量 by Eckhart Tolle
4. 軍鷄, 橋本以藏著
5.貨幣戰爭, 宋鴻兵著
6.胡桃裡的宇宙 by Stephen Hawking
7. Tao of Jeet Kune Do by Bruce Lee
8. Critical Moves by Randy Martin
9. 道德經的智慧, 丹明子著
10. 哲道行者, 李天命著

Day 2 

Reading on Scarlet Yu:

I have known Scarlet for 19 years. We have danced together in the same dance company in Singapore for 10 years. She is a gorgeous performer and a very introspective dance artist. For the 10 x 10 project, we met 3 times. Her recent one to one dance encounter is a very meaningful project. How precious can a dance be if it is just meant for one and no other, no?

photoThe reading on day 2 is super intense. The books could be considered academically inclined and conceptually focusing on a certain discourse. Total silence was given to me today and I abstracted the essence of each book based on my possible co-relation with my current choreographic investigation which is mainly about the TIME / SPACE / Connectivity/Texture  between the substance of dialogues, movement and collectiveness of the audience  who are the recipients of the art and the artist herself.

10 Books borrowed from Scarlet Yu:

1. Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard
2. “Retrospective” by Xavier Le Roy
3. On Dialogue by David Bohm
4. The Silent Transformation by Francois Jullien
5. Dance – Documents on Contemporary Art edited by Andre Lepecki
6. The Lover’s Discourse by Roland Barthes
7. Why Love Hurts by Eva Illouz
8. The Spectator and the Spectacle: Audiences in Modernity and Post Modernity by Dennis Kennedy
9. 论创作 , 高行健著
10. Nineteen Eighty- Four by George Orwell

Day 3

Reading on Yuri Ng:

I have heard a lot about Yuri Ng. He is a famous choreographer straddling between Ballet Company, Chinese Dance Company and Contemporary Dance Company in Hong Kong. He is also  very well connected in the world of design, lifestyle and glamour. He is classically trained since the age of six. He is absolutely a genius in putting context of Hong Kong-ness with his classically crafted contemporary mind and choreography. We met 2 times for the 10 x 10 project. First time in Kuala Lumpur during his rehearsal, second time in Hong Kong at his house.

10x10 day 3 Yuri The reading of day 3 started with The Politically Correct Bedtimes Stories. It was absolutely hilarious to start the day. Yuri mentioned in our last meeting that all his books are mostly more than 20 years old and now it all connected back like an umbilical  cord. Unconsciously or consciously I took the red yarn and started to connect each book from one and another after each reading. There are many humour in these books. The pornography literature of a gay relationship as well as the biography of Yukio Mishima………………..the blood, the death, the glamour and the desire. In someway, the reading of his books really connect one to another.

10 Books borrowed from Yuri Ng:

1. Grammar of the Art of Dancing by Friedrich A. Zorn
2. The Object-Lesson by Edward Gorey
3. 好學的哥哥
4. Mishima, A Biography by John Nathan
5. Japanese History 11 Experts Reflect on the Past
6. 欢迎光临桃花源, 亚瑟潘著
7.The Complete Fawlty Towers by John Cleese & Connie Booth
8. Politically Correct Bed time Stories by James Finn Garner
9. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
10. Let’s Entertain: Life’s Guilty Pleasure by Walker Art Center

Day 4

Reading on Elaine Kwok:

Elaine has very beautiful mind. Her works are often most poetic and special when she is dancing it herself. She worked with ice block and also mud, organic and sensitively floating. We met 3 times for 10 x 10  project  and decided to cook a dish  from the cook book she passed me out of her 10 books. All her books has personal memories with them……..

photo-2  I wrote a letter to Elaine in the end, telling her how I felt with her books, how was my reading on her books and how the reading of her reading has evolved………There are much love, domestic, journey   and mundane  relevancy in her books I must say.

10 books borrowed  from Elaine Kwok:

1. A Lover’s Soliloquy by Eddie Tay
2. 聖經
3. A Child Called “It” by Dave Pelzer
4. Catching the Big Fish – Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity by David Lynch
5. The Intimate Act of Choreography by Lynne Anne Blom and L. Tarin Chaplin
6. Gino’s Pasta by Gino D’acampo
7. 過於喧囂的孤獨 by Prilis Hlucna Samota
8.Discover Europe by Lonely Planet
9. 60 嵗的请書 by Uchidate Makiko
10. A Geography of Time – The Temporal Misadventures of a Social Psychologist by Robert Levine

Day 5

Reading on John Utans

John is constantly craving for poetic, queer, moment of ellipsis and quiet  intensity in his choreographic works. Most importantly he loves to play prang on others. I was one of the victim whom has benefited abundant jokes from him which has been almost endlessly profound and addictive. We met 1 time to talk and pick up books for 10 x 10. He is obsessed with “games” and me too.

10x10 day 5 JOHN  John came. I received an instruction of a reading game. In the cycle of 10 books, I picked up a word from a page from a book. Each cycle I took a break, talked to different “audiences” who are crowding the performance space where I stood, whole day. An audience came to approach me with a very earnest question: ” I have waited 3 hours for your performances to start, but maybe I have missed it when I went away for a brief moment ago to the toilet?” Finally, the 10 cups each filled with 10 words from 10 books is the end of my performance today. Now we have 100 words from the books of John. So when does the performance really start? I felt bad. But I was not in the position to explain to her at that moment.

10 books borrowed from John Utans:

1. The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches by Basho
2. The Plague by Albert Camus
3. The Volcano Lover by Susan Sontag
4. Inferno from An Occult Diary by August Stringberg
5. The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson
6. Journals 1889 -1949 by Andre Gide
7.Wild Strawberries by Ingmar Bergman
8. Two Lives Gertrude and Alice by Janet Malcolm
9. This Is Modern Art by Matthew Collings
10. The Theatre of Robert Wilson by Arthur Holmberg

Day 6

Reading on Miranda Chin

Miranda is one of the pioneer of Hong Kong Contemporary Chinese Choreographer. She has been researching about the relation of Taichi and dance ever since she started her career as a choreographer. She has many questions for me each time we met. She is intense and introspective. We met 1 time to talk and pick up books for 10 x 10.

10x10 day 6 Miranda  As I started reading her books, I recall her memory of wanting to be a visual artist who ended being a choreographer who practices martial arts while investigating about the world of Taichi and Taoism. Between the world of “written” knowledge and “embodied” knowledge, I start to look between the world inside this library-ness of space and the harbour outside which now moving all the re-cyled paper in the shipyards. Wondering how to continue, I remained straddling between the world of 2: Exterior & Interior , Inside & Outside, Cognitive & Physical while slowly going through the books.

Miranda came to visit me and my reading of her books in the mid day. Too many questions, too many possibilities, too many wants too many investigations, too many presentations and too many philosophical un-attainities. Crowded with her questions to be answered, I stopped the reading.  In the end I proposed, let’s do drumming together with our markers, maybe we will find the answers together to our own questions through this singular gesture.

10 books borrowed from Miranda Chin

1. 老子他説 (上), 南懐瑾先生述著
2. 导引健身法解説, 吴志超著
3. 太極拳譜,清王宗岳等著
4. Talk About Contemporary Dance by Philippe Noisette
5. Deep Song – The Dance Story of Martha Graham by Ernestine Stodelle
6. 劉若瑀的三十六堂表演课
7. 太極哲學, 杨成寅著
8. 敦煌舞教程,高金荣著
9.刻畵人間, 朱銘雕塑大展
10. Dancing Ink, Pictorial Calligraphy and Calligraphic Painting by Wang FangYu

Day 7 

Reading on Ong Yong Lock

Yong Lock was originally from Malaysia, perhaps moving to Hong Kong 25 years ago. He first joined Hong Kong Dance Company as a full- time dancer followed by another full-time dance position in City Contemporary Dance Company in the early 90-s. I was told that the Malaysian male dancers were prominent in the Hong Kong Dance scene in the 90-s. I met Yong Lock 2 times for 10 x 10. Most of his books are directly connected to his works which he bought intentionally for the specific work he was working. 

10x10 day 7 Ong Yong Lock I placed my body halfway in  between the platform and in the air while reading each book with different contact points. This balancing act is to keep my equilibrium in the placement of reading each book at the edge of my comfort zone. After 6 days and 60 books, my 7th day is mentally challenging. Having to involved my physical connection to the reading has opened up the possibility of integrating the body and the mind, the movement internalisation of reading and the act of reading. Most importantly it provides a function to situate the artist into a state of the “IN – BETWEEN”.

10 books borrowed from Ong Yong Lock

1. 够黑。 三部關於身份情色變態残酷生存的劇場文本, 陳志樺著
2.樓下的房客 ,九把刀著
3. The Open Door by Peter Brook
4. 舞書,陶馥蘭話舞
5.玩出聪明 -美国益智游戏大全
6. 2001: 太空漫游, 亚瑟 . C . 克拉克著
7.失物招领处, by Siegfried Lenz
8. 图解山海经,徐客编著
9. 尼金斯基的筆記 by Vaslav F. Nijinski
10. 漂流教室 by Kazuo Umezu

Day 8

Reading on Pewan Chow

I attended Pewan’s dance class in 1996 in HKAPA when I visited Hong Kong as a self-invited guest student.   Her focus was the emphasis on sensibility in moving the body and the contact of body surface  between movements. She never recognised me after 19 years later when I ask to borrow her 10 books. Pewan chow was recommended to me through Tom Brown, the pioneer of contemporary dance education in Hong Kong. During our meting, Pewan mentioned about her encounter with people that matters to her choreography….We  met 1 time for  10 x 10. It was very brief but warm.

photo 1 I did 10 readings of 10 books on 10 body parts for 10 recipients. It was an intimate body and mind transmission of text through my physical intervention. This physical involvement of the day 8 reading was an accumulative process of reading myself through my body in the space. It is also a counter proposition in reading books that are mostly spiritually inclined. Honestly, My eyes are loosing patience to the visual function of the text in the coming 10 books. The decision to connect with body parts is absolutely not an intellectual proposition to start out with. But the outcome was transformative. It is an epiphany or breakthrough from my personal performative act in the past 7 days of reading. Between text and movement. Between body and mind.

10 books borrowed from Pewan Chow:

1. 聖經
2. 爱的融會 , 竹君著
3. 气质,是最好的名牌,施以诺著
4. 奠基立柱-初期教会纵横谈,吳國傑著
5. 富爸爸窮爸爸,罗伯特·清崎和莎朗·L·莱希特合著
6. 老夫子,王泽著 (第35集)
8. 人類藝術史,瑪莉‧霍林斯沃思著
9. In Response to Place – Photographs from the Nature Conservancy’s Last Great Places
10. 漫画世界的历史2 – 亚历山大帝国

Video link about the Reading Massage:


Feedback from the recipients:

Suki Zhao:


Stephane Noel:

I enjoyed having part of my body disconnected from the rest because to the special attention to it and I also enjoyed having my mind floating around. It was quite eerie actually. Floating of the body. Floating of the mind.

Day 9

Reading on Kelvin Mak

Kelvin is a special case. I met him through a young drama artist in Hong Kong not long ago. He started sharing with me about his choreographic process for the next coming year during our drinking session. The fact is he has not created any choreographic work and he is in the process of creating his full-length dance which will be showcased in 2015 December. The notion of future come occurring  to me and I would like to know more about this young dance artist who did not graduate from the academy and became the full-time dancer of City Contemporary Dance Company as the youngest member at the age of 21.

photo-8 I tried to move out of my usual spot, out of the “platform” / “stage” that hosted the 100 books for the past 8 days. This is an attempt to gradually transit and expand my reading  on day 9, from a confined space to the dinner area between the “platform” / “stage” and the terrace outside.    Kelvin’s books are mostly about strategy. Strategy of war, strategy of stealing and strategy of reading people’s mind. I tried to stage myself in a conference, reading each book by assuming a different position.

10 books borrowed from Kelvin Mak

1. 鹿鼎記 , 金庸著
2. 狐變 , 衞斯理著
3. 無敵幽默故事 , 聰明泉著
4. 攻心説服術 , 多湖輝著
5. 導演功課, by David Mamet
6. 阴谋学入门, 黄文雄著
7.先知 。 沙与沫 , 纪伯伦著
8. Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon
9. 杜月笙传 , 王俊著
10. 孙子兵法 , 周广宇著

Day 10

Reading on Daniel Yeung

Daniel is a solo artist. He has been working on creating solos for himself. He is also a very diverse dance artist as most people connect him with “multi-media & dance”, “being naked & dance” and also visual arts & dance as he studied visual arts before going to Amsterdam for his Master in Choreography in 1996. That year he left Hong Kong. That year was my first trip to Hong Kong. We met 2 times for 10 x 10. He shared his stories about his books. Very romantic person.

photo 2-3Today is the last day of 10 x 10 Hong Kong. I have moved my reading from the dining room to the terrace outside. The books are shifting from the book shelf to the chairs outside to breath some fresh air. Daniel’s books are very diverse and playful. I go back to simple reading by siting on the chair where each book was placed. A chrysanthemum as a gesture to keep my promise to the self – imposed reading project and 1 joss stick burning time for 1 book for the last 10 books.

10 books borrowed from Daniel Yeung

1. Leonardo Dicaprio by Catherine Murphy
2. Connecting Flights, in conversation with Remy Charest by Robert Lepage
3. Too Negative (No. 3 February 1995) Two Headed Baby Doll, Pornography Magazine from Japan
4. Dance Workshop by Robert Cohan
5. 多啦A夢 神奇的科學
6. An Anthology of Hong Kong Dance Criticism: 1976 – 1996
7. 身軆的語言- 從中西文化看身軆之謎
8.麥嘜青春舞曲, 謝立文著
9. Remembering the Body, edited by Gabriele Brandstetter and Hortensia Volckers
10. A Garden of Dance – Jiri Kylian 20 Years At Nederlands Dans Theatre

Closure ( 10 pm, 21 March 2015)

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Finally, 10 days 10 hours a day reading on 100 books borrowed from 10 choreographers in Hong Kong has come to the end. A ritual was performed.  Only me and the 100 books.

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My durational self- imposed reading project has finally come to the end.

In the process of reading,  I have gone through different stages of reading the books and reading myself reading the books and performing the reading to be read and putting a context to finding a connection between myself as a reader and what I have read relating to the books of others. Not just ordinary “others”, but 10 choreographers I have encountered for 10 x 10.

Perhaps, the journey will continue in different manifestation in later time.

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The————————-end of the day on 21 March 2015———————– 1145pm ………… I was naked accompanied by the books——–with a bottle of wine——————to celebrate———————–to be alone—————–to contemplate and to rest.