About Project MuoMuo
MuoMuo: Silently, as time goes by
Project MuoMuo is initiated by choreographer Yu Yen-Fang in 2013. During then, a group of laid-out workers who were not paid their wages were having a hunger strike in front of the Labor’s Department. They were victims of closed-down factories and fled employers. The Chairman of the Labor’s Department dodged for weeks without any response and expressed to the news that he has been “silently caring” for those starved workers. Amazed and inspired, Yu began to reflect upon the formation of social manners in our society—– the precipitation of action and reaction, which, through time, slowly formed the culture we live in here and now. Yu then formed a collective of young artists from various fields including mainly dance and theater, also photography, lighting, music, historical studies and art administration to begin a long-term workshop and dialogue focusing on experimentation of physical theater aesthetic and current issues in Taiwan. By searching into personal and shared history, we work to clarify our questions and curiosity, dilemma and confusion as a contemporary Taiwanese. Since 2013, Project MuoMuo has been commissioned to perform in festivals and venues throughout Taiwan, from formal theater space to site-specific performances in local market places, metro stations, abandoned houses, public spaces in villages, etc. After 4 years of fieldwork, study, workshops, work-in-progress showings and performances, we are ready to show our work also abroad. In the future, Project MuoMuo aims to tour nationally and internationally to exchange our voice and thoughts with audience across the globe.
About the work —— What Time Has Silently Changed
In June 2017, Project MuoMuo had its latest incarnation performed at Wellspring Theater in downtown Taipei. The title of the piece was “What Time Has Silently Changed”, a question that was not only the starting point but also the driving force throughout the creative process.
When we booked the performance venue, we learned that 100 years ago the city’s main water source lied under where the theater stood today. During the Japanese era, the location was turned into a market. Under the Chinese Nationalist’s rule, it then became the physical examination center for the military recruitment. Intrigued, we decided to incorporate the local history as a departure point to our work. We drew movement materials from the hustle and bustle of everyday life surrounding the theater. We examined how time, the linear, irreversible factor of history, silently precipitated the layers of events and gave shape to what happens the here and the now, embodied by people’s daily movement. We allowed ourselves to contemplate scales of time by zooming into a person’s lifetime and zooming out to the lifetime of the (scientifically) known universe.
Throughout the rehearsal process, we avoided hastily forcing a group identity or producing theatrical effects. Every one of us took time delving into our own physicality and mentality independent of those of the others so that the emerging of a group identity happened organically. We worked the best we could to stay true to our inquiry. Since time is pervasive in every aspect of human experience, we had to work in ways that did not divide our lives into rehearsals, daily life, and final performance. The result, we believed, was a piece that reflected honestly the terroir that had nurtured it.
We live in a chaotic and noisy contemporary world. Proposing a project with the adverb “silently” at its core is a way of reminding myself that when we have more patience and give more time, we will be able to cut through the appearances and arrive at the deeper truth that is not obvious at first sight. And, ultimately, I want to share with audiences my discovery in the best way possible in a theater setting within a time frame that allows some degree of reflection.