ArtsEquator’s Top 10 Picks at the Performing Arts Meeting 2019

Established in 1995, the Tokyo Performing Arts Market (TPAM) was created to be a platform to network Japanese artists with producers and funders. 24 years later, TPAM has expanded in scope and purpose, to include live performance, panel discussions and symposiums. In 2011 it moved to the City of Yokohama, and was renamed the Performing Arts Meeting – although the original acronym still sticks. The move south was accompanied by a broader focus on Asia Pacific, manifesting a strong regional identity.

Here are ten of ArtsEquator’s picks from the TPAM programme this year, from fully-fledged productions to work-in-progress presentations and everything in between.


José Maceda, Cassettes 100, 1971, Photo by Nathaniel Gutierrez, Courtesy of UP Center for Ethnomusicology and Ringo Bunoan


  1. Cassettes 100 (1971), composed by José Maceda (Philippines), 10 February

KAAT Kanagawa Arts Theatre Atrium, 281 Yamashita-cho

In 1971, a hundred participants danced in the lobby of the Cultural Centre of the Philippines, holding cassette players playing recordings of indigenous Filipino music. Cassettes 100, a large-scale multimedia performance by the late composer José Maceda, was an attempt at bringing together the spiritual world of the indigenous Philippines with the contemporary. This latest rendition is choreographed and presented by Yoko Higashino and Toshio Kajiwara from the ANTIBODIES Collective, a performance group interested in exploring the socio-cultural significance of performance art. Find out more here.


The Mysterious Lai Teck (2018), courtesy of the artist


  1. The Mysterious Lai Teck by Ho Tzu Nyen (Singapore), 12 – 13 February

KAAT Kanagawa Arts Theatre Large Studio, 281 Yamashita-cho

A commission of the Singapore International Festival of Arts 2019, The Mysterious Lai Teck draws on Ho’s long-term project, The Critical Dictionary of Southeast Asia and in the same vein as his video installation Nameless. This performance delves into the modern political history of Malaya through the life of Lai Teck, the head of the Malayan Communist Party from 1939 to 1947 – who happened to be a triple agent for the French, British and Japanese secret services. A performance that melds biography and fiction, the intrigue of espionage and the weight of Southeast Asian political history, The Mysterious Lai Teck is a much anticipated new work this year.

Find out more here.

Photo by Eko Wahyudi


  1. Salt by Eko Supriyanto (Solo, Surakarta, Indonesia), 13 February

KAAT Kanagawa Arts Theatre Hall, 281 Yamashita-cho

The last of Eko Supriyanto’s trilogy – preceded by the acclaimed performances Cry Jailolo (2014) and Balabala (2016) — Salt is a personal, autobiographical piece, journeying through Eko’s life from his beginnings as a classically trained dancer, exploring the roots of traditional Javanese dance vocabulary that is inextricable from Javanese agricultural practices. The dance also draws on Eko’s experience as a diver, alluding to the very different world that is underwater. This performance features live music by Dimawan Krisnowo Adji. Read Michael Raditya’s reflections on Salt on ArtsEquator here.
Find out more about the performance at TPAM here.


  1. GE14 by Fahmi Fadzil and Zan Yamashita (KL, Malaysia and Kyoto, Japan), produced by Five Arts Centre, 16 February (Part 1) and 17 February (Part 1 & 2)

Kosha33 (Kanagawa Prefectural Housing Supply Corporation): Part 1
Nihon-Odori Street (in front of Kosha33): Part 2

Politics meets performance once again, in this two-part production drawing on documentation and reproduction of live campaign speeches from Malaysia’s landmark 14th general election last year – which caused the first change of government since the nation’s independence. An artist, Fahmi Fadzil, stood for Parliament as a member of the opposition party alliance Pakatan Harapan against the party in power. Zan Yamashita, a Japanese choreographer who had long been his collaborator and friend, followed his electoral campaign as a close observer. How the so-called “bloodless revolution” was achieved, halting the oppressive climate the country was experiencing, is going to be presented in this staging at TPAM2019.

Find out more here.


Photo by Duen Chongmankhong


  1. The Retreat by Thanapol Virulhakul (Bangkok, Thailand), 10 – 12 February

KAAT Kanagawa Arts Theatre Middle Studio, 281 Yamashita-cho

The Retreat
is an ongoing choreographic research process through which Thanapol Virulhakul and dancers have been investigating, for over a year, ideas of retreat – from people, things and the unknown in daily life – with a goal to come back to the body with insights and new relationships with otherness. This showing at TPAM is an open work-in-progress workshop.

More information here.


  1. Constellation of Violence by Irwan Ahmett (Jakarta, Indonesia), 17 February

KAAT Kanagawa Arts Theatre Large Studio, 281 Yamashita-cho

Constellation of Violence is one of a series of works by Irawn Ahmett called the History series that focuses on the culmination of the Cold War in Indonesia in 1965, from its lead-up to its aftermath. The pivotal “30th of September Movement” had taken its toll encouraged the military forces and militias to commit atrocities, in order to “eradicate communism” (and anyone accused of it) down to their roots. While what really happened on that bloody night has been endlessly debated, the state command under the New Order regime had the sole control over what became the historical narrative, the effects of which have been ingrained and passed down through generations.

Book here.

  1. Post Capitalistic Auction by Jingyi Wang (Beijing, China / Bergen, Norway), 13 and 14 February

Yokohama Port Opening Memorial Hall, 1-6 Honcho: Preview and Auction
mass×mass Kannai Future Center, 3-33 Kitanaka-dori: Discussion

Jingyi Wang directs a cheeky take on art market practices: Post Capitalistic Auction is an “alternative and performative contemporary art auction”. The transactions that take place will be real, but bidders are encouraged to bid with currencies such as “understanding” or “opportunity” – forms of exchange drawing inspiration from Pierre Bourdieu’s classification of capital: economic, cultural, social and symbolic. It is ultimately each artist’s call on who gets their work for the “price” offered – whether monetary or otherwise. The auction is accompanied by a panel discussion on questions that the auction should address or contend with.

More information here.

  1. Deproduction by Terre Thaemlitz (Chiba, Japan), 15 February

KAAT Kanagawa Arts Theatre Large Studio, 281 Yamashita-cho

“Please open yourselves to the following two premises. First, having children is unethical. Second, families make democracy impossible.”
This screening-performance by Terre Thaemlitz presents a study of LGBT agendas and patriarchal ideologies, contemporary forms of capitalism and democracy, as well as cultural production and biological reproduction, and presents a cultural defense for those who choose not to reproduce. These analyses will be informed by Thaemlitz’ own involvements in non-essentialism, pansexual Queerness and non-transitioning transgenderism. The performance was produced with support from documenta 14 and Akademie der Künste der Welt.



  1. Music for Five Pianos / Two Pianos and Four Winds (composed by José Maceda, 1993/1996), 11 February

KAAT Kanagawa Arts Theatre Hall, 281 Yamashita-cho

This music performance brings together a mix of cultures through music. Maceda was known for combining the philosophy and structure of Southeast Asian music with Western notation, expanding the possibilities of what classical piano music can sound like. This presentation of Maceda’s piano works features pianists Aki Takahashi and Yuji Takahashi, and conductor Josefino Chino Toredo, all close and frequent collaborators with Maceda. More information here.

Photo by Witjak Widhi Cahya


  1. A Notional History (tentative title, work-in-progress) by Five Arts Centre, 16 – 17 February

KAAT Kanagawa Arts Theatre Middle Studio, 281 Yamashita-cho

A Notional History, like GE14, draws inspiration from the landmark elections that took place in Malaysia last year. In 2019, a new history textbook will be produced under a new government — updated with new additions, figures, erasures, exclusions, blindspots. In this work-in-progress documentary performance, three people investigate the possible histories for #MalaysiaBaharu (New Malaysia), intersecting the personal, the national, and the notional. Find out more here.

All information is accurate at the time of publishing. Please check the TPAM website for updated information.

For more ArtsEquator articles on TPAM 2019 presentations, please click here.

Tags: TPAM  TPAM 2019

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