Do you want to dance with me?
Do I allow myself to be touched by you?
Do I dare to touch you?
What do you move inside of me?
Do I move something inside of you?

Questions posed in the book ‘Dans met Mij’ (Dutch for ‘Dance with Me’) of Jean Kwok, which inspired artistic director Marloes van Houten to initiate Forge Collective. We work in Hong Kong and China using interdisciplinary art making and performance creation, to become aware of our personal history and the effect of the city space on our body, our mind set and the way we relate with our environment. Our artistic research in Hong Kong and China has been stimulated by the following sub-themes:


  • Post- colonialism, diversity & self-censorship (2017-2019)
    Colonialism might be over, in Hong Kong more recently than in The Netherlands, however what are the remnants of this period on our mindset when we think of our personal and our cities future?  What about ‘self-censorship’ and the ‘internal colonalizer’ possibly limiting our ability to life full out. Do we see ethnic minorities as a threat or resource regarding our cities future? Catapult and Muscari Armeniacum are two dance productions, a photo series, and a short dance film made under this theme.


  • Modernity vs conservatism (2017 – 2019)
    Since 2017 HKNLversations has been extending its work to China (Chengdu and Beijing) with teaching workshops/masterclasses and creating a first performance ‘Deep Fall Puppet‘. China is a place where old traditions and cultural practices meet and merge with a more recently developed high speed productive and demand focused economy. This meeting between ‘old and new’ leads to opportunities but also to clashes in families, businesses, politics and every day life. How does one to these protagonists?


  • Reinventing Home through the Eyes of Animals (2017/2018)
    In ancient Chinese cosmology, nature (including animals) and human are one. However, in modern life people might see themselves as seperate from their environment. How do animals part of our city life, engage with and experience the space that we share? What happens if we look at our city space through their eyes. The first project developing from this thought engages Dutch photographer Marcel Heijen & Hong Kong / US sculptor May Yeung. See:


  • Inter-generational growth of HK/NL female artists (2016)
    8 female artists from different generations reflecting on growth in their being and career.
    They explored what they learnt about growth over the years; both through successes and ‘failures’. They questioned if and how their culture, its history and values facilitates growth of their female artist essence and talents. The research culminated in a multidisciplinary performance ‘Peer to Pier‘.


  • Mirroring and transformation (2015/2016)
    How is the Hong Kong / China– NL encounter a mirror that makes us see ourselves and our cities culture differently?Does this mirroring open new possibilities in how we relate to life? The focus on this theme led to the development of the onsite peformance ‘Poiema’


  • Liminality & Reconstruction (2014/15)
    The interrelation between body & city in decay and in reconstruction.
    The process of reconstruction out of chaos and changes in liminal space.
    The focus on this theme was the bases of the year long art making/life making workshops run in Hong Kong and the onsite production ‘Forge Portmanteau’.

See here for the artists part of the Hong Kong / China team.

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