Keyholder in residence: Daniel Kok
During his Keyholder Residency in Plateau, Daniel Kok works on the piece Cheerleader of Europe.
"Cheerleader of Europe is a solo project through which I pin down my position as an independent Asian artist in Europe and develop a methodology of brokering a dialogic relationship with the European milieu I now call home.
I see the artist/performer as an agent of conflicting ideologies, putting various positions into play alongside or against each other, in order to mirror the audience as a pluralist community.
I have been looking for ways to collect qualitative data, map out inter-subjective relations, facilitate collaborative discussions, as well as instigate ways of seeing that require multiple perspectives at the same time. In such a model, the solo artist/performer needs to see himself as an agonistic Self (Mouffe), that is a figure of pluralism, in order to foster a radical democracy in the theatre. To achieve this, the artist as well as the audience must be acutely aware of the systemic control and manipulation at work when the crowd is brought together by a shared desire to belong and coalesce as a community.
Thanks to a series of conversations with artists, festival programmers and other cultural workers since my move to Berlin and Brussels, I am by now fully aware of the impact of the Eurozone crisis on the creation, production, distribution and circulation of the performing arts in Europe. (What an inopportune time for an Asian artist to relocate to Europe! A little ironic too!) In a time when arts festivals and organisations experience dramatic funding cuts and install to co-productions as a coping measure, artists and audience alike have to rethink the idea of cooperation and their overall modus operandi.
Nevertheless, it must be said that Cheerleader of Europe is not just an emancipatory project. I do look upon the utopic notions of the work with skepticism. This charming, seductive cheerleader that I envisage is also a figure of power, a benevolent but manipulative dictator; a not-so distant relative of the neo-liberal capitalist who sells freedom as a feel-good notion and grants limited choice so that in the end, it is he who benefits the most and laughs his way to the bank. How do I resolve this duplicitous character? How do I work for all of us sincerely, devotedly while at the same time sell us out? Who better to play this role than a Singaporean?"
Choreographer and Cheerleader: Daniel Kok
Dramaturge: Jorge Gonçalves
Mentors: Peter Stamer, Claudia Bosse
Supported by: a.Pass, Nadine