Burning Questions: Is There Still Hope for Integrity and Intimacy in Online Performance?

Artists today have to grapple with being true to their creative integrities while dealing with the limitations of tech platforms and live delivery methods. With social distancing and restrictions on travel worldwide, is there a way to keep the intimacy alive between artists and their audiences in a way that doesn’t compromise the work? Join Bernice Lee (Singapore), Katrina Stuart Santiago (Philippines) and Maria Tri Sulistyani (Indonesia) as they discuss possibilities for and challenges to connection and creativity online. This panel is moderated by Corrie Tan.

About Burning Questions
In a matter of just months, the making, distribution and audiences’ experience of arts has undergone rapid changes. From abrupt cancellations of major festivals, to shuttering of galleries and theatres, new online avenues emerged to make and share arts.

At the same time, COVID-19 has exposed the extreme precarity of the arts sector. As arts workers face a real existential threat, it is society at large that will be impoverished if artists can no longer make and present their work. Now more than ever, we need artists to challenge assumptions and imagine new futures.

This series of four talks, organised by ArtsEquator, attempts to ask some big questions. Being in the middle of an unpredictable global crisis precludes easy answers. Burning Questions offers a space for regional voices to dialogue and discuss some of the unasked questions facing the arts community.


Katrina Stuart Santiago
Katrina Stuart Santiago is an independent cultural critic and opinion writer from Manila, with a decade of work in print and online. Her critical work on theater, film, visual arts, and popular culture was published in Rebellions: Notes on Independence and Romances: Variations on Love by the Ateneo de Naga University Press in 2017. Her role as critic has fueled her activism, which cuts across issues of cultural labor, systemic dysfunctions, and institutional crises. She is contributing writer for CNN Philippines, and is teacher of multimedia arts at the College of St.Benilde-School of Design and the Arts. She maintains the review website gaslight.online, the opinion page disquiet.ph, and has been writing at www.katrinasantiago.com since 2008. She is founder of PAGASA-People for Accountable Governance and Sustainable Action, which seeks to build a new civil society for the urgencies of the present.

Maria Tri Sulistyani
Maria Tri Sulistyani (b. 1981) founded Papermoon Puppet Theatre, which is based in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in 2006 with no educational background of puppetry, making puppetry a never-ending experimental journey for her. Ria is a co-director of Papermoon, along with her husband, visual artist Iwan Effendi. Papermoon makes performances, visual arts projects, and facilitates workshops with a wide range of audiences, and since 2008 also runs the independent annual International Biennial Puppet Festival called PESTA BONEKA.

Bernice Lee
Bernice Lee is a dance artist from and in Singapore. Her practice is extensive; she sees art-making as a form of social activism. Her labours are rooted in improvisation, playing in connection between thought, feeling, and movement. Her love of language has led her to writing about dance, as well as working with poets and spoken word artists. Bernice’s current practice “Ghosting” (and #ghosting as @bleelly on Instagram) is a danced research of practicing the “Female Gaze”, not as one way of seeing but as many ways of seeing.

Together with theatre practitioner Chong Gua Khee, she has been developing their joint practice The-Body-As-Theatre since 2018. As a response to the touchlessness of our times, they created an online participatory performance “Touch You Later!” An Associate Member of Dance Nucleus and a part-time lecturer at Lasalle College Of The Arts, Bernice also teaches dance for a range of populations, including preschoolers, children with autism, teenagers, and older dancers.

Bernice cares about expanding our imagination of and for the future. She co-directs Rolypoly Family/Derring-Do Dance with Faye Lim.

For more details about her work, please visit bernicelee.xyz


Corrie Tan
Corrie Tan is a writer and practitioner-researcher from Singapore. She is committed to radical shifts in performance criticism – redefining the critic as dramaturg, collaborator, archivist, facilitator and shapeshifter – with a practice centered around care, intimacy and generosity. She is resident critic and contributing editor at Arts Equator, and has written regularly about performance for The Guardian, Exeunt Magazine, and The Straits Times. Corrie is a President’s Graduate Fellow in Theatre Studies on the joint PhD programme between King’s College London and the National University of Singapore.

Burning Questions by ArtsEquator is supported by Splice Lights On, with Livestream supported by HowlRound TV. Watch the archive recording of the other panels here.

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