As a team member of the The Malaysian Design Archive (MDA), Nadia Nasaruddin saw an opportunity to improve their archival practices by learning from counterparts in the United Kingdom (UK). She went on a 20-day trip in the UK, to learn from specific archives in the UK, such as the British Library Labs (BLL), British Library, Birmingham City University, Arts, Design & Media Archive, Brighton University of Design Archive, London Screen Archive and Black Cultural Archive.
Stories from Connections Through Culture 2019
Muzium Alam is an interactive, online, experimental museum about nature in a coastal region in the west of Sarawak. Initially, Ayesha Keshani had planned to create a cluster of small "natural history museums” in Sarawak, however, the pandemic forced the project to be restructured for accessibility online. The UK-based artist was personally interested in Malaysia and chose to focus the project on a coastal area in the west of Sarawak, in collaboration with local eco-tourism guides and voice artists.
Nada Nusantara is a project that explores music through experimental play and study. The initiative started by Malaysian composer, Marzelan Salleh, aimed not only to create new compositions but encourage new learnings that could be discovered from examining all the elements connected to creating music. This encompasses technique, musical form, rhythm and harmony as well as the non-musical influences, such as colours, stories, inspirations from nature, self-play and culture.
In an attempt to de-westernise colonial gaze and narrative, London based film curator, Qila Gill embarked on a research trip to Malaysia to learn and connect with Freedom Film Network and a group of diverse Malaysian filmmakers, including young indigenous Malaysians using cameras as a medium to reclaim their heritage and narrative.
The Art of Falling is a dance solo developed by Malaysian dancer, Hwa Wei-An, that underwent development through an artistic exchange with British choreographer, Richard Chappell. Throughout a two-week stint in Ipswich, Wei-An and Richard immersed themselves in conversation and dance practice that was inspired by the narrative and characters in Thomas Meyer’s Beowulf.
The Poet is the Poem is a unique showcase of Malaysian Sign Language through poetry. Elaine Foster, who founded MY Poetry School, was inspired to organise the initiative from watching poetry delivered in sign language. The result was the premiere of “Walls” a poem film in the Bahasa Isyarat Malaysia (BIM) or Malaysian Sign Language by Anthony Chong with a translation in English by multimedia poet, Sheena Baharudin. (BIM is the officially recognised language of the deaf in Malaysia and is integral to their identity.)
Trance Mask R&D is a research initiative by performer and mask maker, Simone Tani together with six actors from KL Shakespeare Players. Together, they created an abridged version of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, with Trance Masks and Chinese Opera puppets. The unique show also explores physical movement and world-building through the creation of various characters through masks and puppetry.