Shu-Yi Chou

Break & Break! was the first Dance Video Exhibition by Shu-Yi Chou which took place in Polymer Art Space in Taipei. A former textile mill, Polymer has been abandoned for years until a group of artists regenerated it into an arts colony. Chou chose to exhibit and perform here as he would like to have a dialogue with this reborn space. “Break”, the word chosen for the English title, means damage and unsettle, but also implies pause and rest. It carries two meanings that seem dissimilar yet are subtly connected.

Break & Break! arises from many dance videos taken by Chou between 2014 and 2017 in different places. He has traveled between city centers and outskirts, using his body to perceive and respond to both derelict and functional spaces, observing large architectures (the external structure) and personal life’s invisible paths (the internal structure). The response of his body to these sites was a feeling that humanity seems to approach annihilation. Many of these sites have been ignored for long in just the way that many human lives have been marginalized.

“Image” is the starting point and key medium. Choosing what to capture in the film – the body, light, shadow or surroundings – is always a man’s conscious decision. It reflects a man’s perception of the transient time, his awareness of the powerlessness to withstand the vicissitudes of life and changes of surroundings. Then, from this forlorn angle he notices the unusual strengths existing in both the center and edge of the society, persisting from being something to being nothing, and from loss to rebirth.

It is a site-specific exhibition. In Polymer Chou has chosen various “alternative” projection screens, such as a concrete wall, a river bank, or a facade of congregated iron house. Then by combining the video exhibition with Chou’s live performance, it signifies the characteristics of both the filmed sites and the exhibition venue, and recreates the authentic moments when Chou danced in these sites, while elevating them with the presence of live performance.

Premiere: Jun. 29, 2018 at Polymer Art Space, Taipei, Taiwan

Touring: Jan. 2020 at Macao City Fringe Festival

Award: Winner of Performing Arts Award, 17th Taishin Arts Award, Taiwan

Film Director & Choreographer:Shu-Yi Chou  |  Video Design:Max Lee  |  Music:Yu-Jun Wang  |  Lighting Design:Chih-Heng Chuang

Nominator for Taishin Arts Award:

''incredibly poignant and arresting...''

Chin-Hsien Lin, Award Nominator:

“After receiving great acclaims in the mainstream environment, Chou went against the stream and went for solitary exploration, traveling to many marginalized places in Taiwan and other countries … finally concluded with the performance in Polymer … In a corner of the urban jungle, a dance pilgrim embraces the audience with dance videos. When he shows up in flesh and blood and dances with his doppelgänger in the video, dancing into urban ruins and neon lights, the moment is incredibly poignant and arresting.”

The Jury of Taishin Arts Award:

''an intimate and personal work yet also ambitious in scope...''

The Jury of Taishin Arts Award:

“An intimate and personal work… also ambitious in scope… Chou successfully imbues his performance with both a deep sense of self-reflection and considerable relevance to the localities he explores, and indeed beyond them… The multi-channel projection provides a dynamic backdrop and a point of dialogue for a compelling dance performance. While the work premiered at a specific site, its relevance to the global experience of urbanization suggests that it can be staged elsewhere with the use of non-traditional sites.”