Mei-Yin Ng and Eric Koziol

mei yin and eric korzoiMei Yin Ng is a dancer and choreographer and the founder of MEI-BE Whatever Company, a collective for the interaction of artists from diverse fields. In New York Ms. Ng’s work has been presented at Dance Theater Workshop, La Mama Etc., PS122, Movement Research at the Judson Church, The Construction Company and The Flea. Her dances ranges from improvisation with a walkman and cell phone to site-specific work. Mei-Yin Ng is a 2004 fellow in Choreography from the New York Foundation for the Arts.
Eric Koziol is a founding member of H-Gun Labs, a media making
collective operating in Chicago and San Francisco from 1989 -2001. With H-Gun Eric had the pleasure of collaborating with such diverse artists as Nine Inch Nails, Public Enemy, Soundgarden, De La Soul, and Diamanda Galas. As a Media Artist, Eric’s work encompasses both experimental single screen works and multi-screen interactive live video performance environments for theater and dance. Their newest project, Where’s the Rub?, will be performed at PS122 from Oct 28th-31st.

Can you tell me a little bit about the new piece, Where’s the Rub, and
how it originated?

ERIC: Where’s the Rub? will be Mei Yin and my second evening length
creation. We are continuing our exploration of “revealing the normally hidden”. In this case, what we are investigating is a health spa. Our spa combines aspects of Chinese Qi Gong massage parlors, luxury pampering facilities, and plastic surgery clinics. Within this frame are issues of beauty and healing, as
well as their inverse, expressed as vanity and deformation. Mei Yin and I share interests in healing techniques: she as a trained Thai masseuse and I as a frequent visitor to a chiropractor. We both also like to play with distorted visions
of physical beauty.

MEI-YIN: I have always been fascinated by commonplace technological devices and their ability to amplify the senses and the human body. For example, cell phones act as an extended ear or mouth, allowing us to talk to or listen to someone far away. Computers act as our expanded memory and cameras allow us to record the present for posterity. But in this project, instead of using technological devices to look outwards, I turned the technology around to look at the human body and spirit. As Eric and I worked on this project, our research started to include not only the subjects of health and corporeal perfection but also their opposites: disease and the grotesque. In Where’s the Rub?, concepts of beauty, health and healing are distorted through body image, fractured sound, and real time bio-mechanical vision.

Mei-Yin, you describe your company, Mei-Be Whatever, as “a collective field where artists collaborate and experiment.” What is it about
collaboration that interests you?

MEI-YIN: Working with a collaborator oftens takes me to unexpected places. I am often surprised by what we do and am challenged to think in a new way. Also, I work with people who are experts in their fields. Each artist has the freedom to express himself, but we are also sharing and exchanging and stimulating each other. Our skills and talents are made more clear in relation to each other.

Eric, you work mainly as a cinematographer and film/video director. How is it different to work on a performance piece?

ERIC: Normally, with a film or video project, one has the talent and
resources assembled for only a short period of time, for the
shoot itself. With performance work, one has the opportunity to
develop and rehearse the material over a longer time. This
allows the group to refine the real time actualization of the
work. This is in contrast to recorded elements which are fixed
and can only be structured in the edit phase of the project.
Additionally, because I also ‘perform’ the video mix during the
show, I get to share in the adrenaline and audience feedback
that specifically comes with live performance.

Who or what inspires you?

MEI-YIN: For this piece, I was inspired by the complicated yet well functioning machine that is our bodies. I was also interested in the Qi-Gong massage parlors that have sprouted up in every corner of this city. It was surprising to find out how many desperate people in this city need body contact and a gentle touch to heal their bodies and spirits. I also looked back to the healing rituals of the country I was born in and to the health treatments of the western world for inspiration.

What’s next?

MEI-YIN: The immediate next thing will be to get a good night’s sleep after the show. After that, in December, Eric and I are off to the Monaco Dance Forum. Next year we will participate in the Leap Festival in Liverpool and possibly do a national and international tour.

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