A response to the prejudice displayed towards people of East Asian heritage during COVID-19

'nineteen ways of looking' is a new digital opera at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA).

By Alex Watson | Last updated 3 June 2020

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A brand new commission is coming to the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA) and Chinese Arts Now (CAN) from artist and composer, Jasmin Kent Rodgman.

‘nineteen ways of looking’ is a digital opera that responds to the COVID-19 pandemic shared exclusively via online platforms in November 2020.

The artwork is a direct response to the portrayal of and prejudice displayed towards people of Chinese and East Asian heritage in the West throughout the pandemic.

Viewers can expect a multidisciplinary performance designed to be presented and experienced specifically via social media, in what they have coined an ‘Instagram opera’.

Credit: CFCCA / Twitter

The work will explore nineteen different perspectives of the pandemic that relate to isolation, media and mental health presented in moving images, still photography and accompanied by various combinations of music, dance and spoken word shared on social media.

The entire piece will be shot on a camera phone and easy Instagram ‘square’ will contain a miniature chapter of the semi-linear narrative, unfolding post by post in real-time for viewers.

Audience comments are welcomed and will build up over time to create a diary of collective thought as people respond to the work.

Artist, Jasmin Kent Rodgman said: “nineteen ways of looking looks to break the mould in how we might consume theatre, dance and opera during times of social distancing and isolation.

Presenting the project to audiences on the very platforms we use to document attacks, negative discourse and trends, nineteen ways… will be an artistic documentation of the emotional and psychological consequences of the current pandemic and atmosphere.”

Rodgman will be collaborating with writer, Chen Si’an whose prose and libretto juxtapose her experience in China with Chinese experiences in the West.

Director and choreographer Si Rawlinson is on board as the project’s actor/movement artist. His unique approach to dance – fusing hip hop and contemporary styles – will create fluidity in style and dynamic range of expression.

his will be accompanied by the distinctive sound of a countertenor, the highest male vocal register that will conjure feelings of awe and angst throughout the opera.

An-Ting Chang, CEO & Artistic Director of CAN, adds: “We are delighted to announce a digital commission with CFCCA. Jasmin was a CAN commission recipient for CAN Festival 2020 and we are excited to see how her artistic ideas transform and develop in this next digital phase. Together with CFCCA and Jasmin, we will deliver this innovative work to the public and the community we serve digitally.”