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15' 48”

Dysdance is a video artwork based on one performance. As a medium, it attempts to outline the concepts of “distance”, “measurement”, “standard” and “discipline”, while exploring the contradictions and paradoxes between the collective security and individual physical freedom, as well as the body and the discipline mechanism. The Ruff collar costume that swept the European aristocracy in the Middle Ages, was imitated and exaggerated to a one-meter-diameter “aristocratic Ruff collars” that worn by the students in the performance. Meanwhile, it’s transformed into a physical device that keeps the distance and posture, alluding to the magic reality.


By adapting, exerting, and creating their new body language, under the restraints of Ruff collars, the students measured the space of school that a building with discipline function. They walked through this huge, enclosed building orderly, condensing and polymerizing like mounds of molecules. They had to coordinate the movements to move collectively, while keeping a one-meter distance to ensure the device is not damaged. Eventually, this superficial restraint and order were destroyed by a disorder, spontaneous, and pure physical collision. In the carnival spirit, the students squeezed, collided, broke free and tore their ruff collars.


Dysdance derives from a workshop that I did at a junior high school in a suburb of Paris, France, during the 2020 pandemic. During the second-round lockdown in Paris in 2020, primary, junior and senior schools remained open under strict epidemic prevention measures. Daily physical contact between students and group physical activities are banned. Wearing face masks and maintaining a safe social distance became the norm in school life. I cooperated with ten students from the special class, Ulis, to create the performance video work about physical social distance. The word “dysdance” is a word I coined from “distance”, which semantically refers to a “dance disorder” and “inability to dance”.

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