They Sing of Voyages

Veteran Travelers Assail Time and Space

Her simple, resonant actions form a journey in several stages. Hong is 60 now, although you mightn't guess it; yet she knows age and death are inevitable, and it's wise to confront them. Masaru Soga's taped score mixes music with natural sounds, and his lighting delineates dim paths and resting places. As Hong wanders, she makes soft gestures that say "rest" or "come flow this way." One stop is at a small hill of skulls. Holding one head close, she suddenly cries out, "Ahhhaha, ah hue oh!" As she strokes this skull, rearranges that one, they clack, and the light hitting their eye sockets seems, eerily, to clothe them in flesh. Grunting, chanting voices are flooded with the sound of water.

At another point, Hong sits meditatively in a swing, contemplating the arc between nearness and distance, speaking an unfinished thought: "Grandma said her grandmother used to say it to her too. I wonder if she knew the name of it." Further along, she gazes into a hand mirror, troubled at first by what she sees. Lying on a small platform, she swims in air. "Hail," her gestures say, "goodbye." Returning to the mirror, she swings it wildly and sits in the front row listening to musician Young-Ah Choi play the beautiful waterphone.

The skull is said to grin: Sin Cha Hong in The woman Laughing.
photo: Pete Kuhns
The skull is said to grin: Sin Cha Hong in The woman Laughing.

Hong starts laughing. " 'Yes,' she used to say, 'life is like a bubble.' " And seated on a stool, the dancer laughs and laughs while white pellets fall from above. Waving her legs like an infant, she catches the "snow" in her hands, in her mouth. In one hour, such a voyage!

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