SWIM (See What I Mean) is a new public engagement project inspired by Hack-a-Bench, created together with choreographer Ivy Tsui. It brings audience a brand new sensory and sensational experience on both dance, movement and space. The project combines durational site-specific dance, 360º dance movies and Hack-a-Bench, in which the performers can be the spectators, the audience can be the performers – whoever in ‘the space’ would become part of ‘the performance’ (or even better called it ‘the experience’). This creates a surrealistic journey for viewers to jump between reality and virtual reality, so as to stimulate their imagination.

Let imagination take you anywhere you want. SWIM is a site-specific dance and 360º dance movie which audiences could see performers swim with a virtual-reality (VR) device.

“Is this a swimming pool or a lawn?”

Hack-a-Bench is a product of an alternative approach to public place-making. It not only offers various new sitting options to the park users, but also re-orientates the benches towards the two main features in the park: The lawn and the pond. This transforms the two features into a stage, and allows experience enhancing art form to thrive. Adding more layers of inspiration to our public space.

Although the rationale behind the design was to create a double-sided bench to improve the functionality of the original ones, there was, in fact, a first image in designers’ mind for the curve was a pool side lounge. In the designer’s imagination, what if the lawn was in fact a swimming pool, what kind of seats would be placed along it. Hence, the curve resembles a pool side lounger, to encourage more relax posture next to the lawn.

An art experience to inspire the Public

To inspire the general public’s imagination on the usage of Hong Kong’s public space. The designers decided to enrich the sitting experience of Hack-a-Bench by inviting the park users to ‘SWIM’ (See What I Mean) with them, hence deepen their understanding of the imagination that inspired the curves of the benches. Choreographer Ivy Tsui was invited to join the team to create the new art experience. 

The concept of the new art experience is based on the conception of Hack-a-Bench No.5, which has been realised at the Carnival at Aldrich Bay Park organised by the Entertainment Office, LCSD in Dec 2018. With the dancers dressed in swimming gears, the team turned the lawn into a ‘swimming pool’. In the three-hour show, three dancers repeated a choreographed sequence in the lawn. While the by-standers were looking at the surrealistic moves happening in the lawn. They were invited to visit the ‘life guard station’, to receive an arm floaty. The person with the floaty on one arm was eligible to line up at one of the three Hack-a-Benches. The Hack-a-Benches have become ‘secondary stages’, where VR goggles were given to the floaty wearers, to enjoy the 360º dance movie that reveals the swimming pool scenes filmed at T-Spa, a pool located next to the T-Park sludge treatment plant in Tuen Mun.

Diagram showing the live performers in the lawn, 4 floaty wearers (VR) on Hack-a-Benches and the lifeguard station 

In fact, the 360º movie experience has led the floaty wearers to move their bodies on the Hack-a-Benches. Their movement interwove with dancers’ live performance, to create an awe-inspiring sensation. The three layers: live performance by the dancers, 360º movie in the VR goggles, and the movement from VR viewers on the benches, combined as one performance art experience. 

Audience are welcome to join the performance and interact with our performers.

About Ivy Tsui

Ivy Tsui, Hong Kong independent dance artist, who believes that everyone has an innate ability to dance. Through encounters and experimentation, by embracing the beauty of diversity and sharing stories in everyday settings, she aspires to use movement and dance to explore life and connect with the community.

After receiving an Award for Young Artist (Dance) at the 2015 Hong Kong Arts Development Awards, Ivy was offered a number of creative opportunities. Her choreographic works include the Hong Kong Arts Festival and Hong Kong Leisure and Cultural Services Department commissions Water Lilies (2017), Morning Glory (2016), Dehydrated Flower (2015), Frangipani (2015), a floral series about the energy of life.

Ivy has been active on the international dance stages as well by touring her biographical piece QuanQuan (2012) and Used to Mud (2017) to Estonia, Sweden, Canada and the U.K. She is currently active in joining exchange programmes and developing international collaborations. 

SWIM with us
Date: 18 Dec, 2018