Singapore Arts Festival 2003 Presents Meredith Monk and Ann Hamilton (USA)


Meredith Monk and Ann Hamilton (USA)




(Asian Premiere)


 Date:  14 & 15 June 
 Time:  8 pm 
 Venue:  Victoria Theatre 
 Tickets:  $82, $62, $52, $42, $22 
 Duration:  90 minutes (no intermission)


Accommodation by Sheraton Towers Singapore


“mercy…what this intensely moving, drop-dead gorgeous, can’t-be-categorised fluid piece of meditative music, movement and milieu presents is an immersion into the process of transcendence.”   ~ Los Angeles Times


When words alone do not suffice.


In contemplating the accounts of mercy – and its absence – throughout history, mercy journeys beyond grieving or anger to a meditative state that hints at both but submits to neither.


Created by the legendary Meredith Monk, and in collaboration with celebrated site-specific installation artist Ann Hamilton, mercy makes its Asian Premiere here at this year’s Festival and is set to be a work of visual and sonic wonders.


Both creators had researched extensively in ethics, anthropology and history, and having bore witness to the horrific news image of a Palestinian father and son caught in crossfire on the Gaza Strip, attempted to make sense of the human capacity for good and evil.


Combining the creators’ talents and their shared interests in mystery, enigma and memory, mercy melds Monk’s unique approach to movement and voice with Hamilton’s rich, poetic physical environment.


In its opening sequence, a pencil line drawn across a bolt of paper, magnified with the use of a miniature camera, becomes a hypnotic dream held together by Monk’s lyrical and vocal music.  There is no narrative on the sparse and somber stage, but rather, a sequence of abstract events that speak of the concept of mercy, of granting mercy and of being denied mercy.


Surrealistically beautiful and simple props – like huge bubbles made by running soap down wires suspended from the ceiling – and the modest resources used – a handful of voices, clarinets, tuned percussion, synthesiser, melodica, violin, viola – meld or converse unpremeditated in this interdisciplinary organic work of art.


Thirty-five Singaporeans, handpicked by Monk herself from an audition here, will also add that local touch to this multi-sensory spectacle as dancers, actors and vocal accompaniment.


Described by The New York Times as “a multimedia, richly allusive meditation on the nature of seeing, hearing, perceiving and making art”, mercy, which made its world premiere in 2001 at the American Dance Festival, explores the dual lines of art and science.


Proclaimed as the “voice of the future” and “one of America’s coolest composers”, Monk conveys deep feelings that are inexpressible with words by translating them into palpable form through her melodies, filled with sighs and wordless chants.  She creates work that thrives at the intersection of music and movement, image and object, light and sound in an effort to discover and weave together new modes of perception. Her one-of-a-kind multimedia stage works – writing, performing the music and choreographing the action – over the last three decades have won her a devoted avant-garde following.


Her works include Magic Frequencies (1998), A Celebration Service (1996), The Politics of Quiet (1996), American Archeology (1994) and many other landmark productions.  Acclaimed accolades under her belt include the prestigious MacArthur “Genius” Award in 1995, three “Obies” (including one for Sustained Achievement), the 1986 National Music Theatre Award, 1992 Dance Magazine Award and sixteen ASCAP Awards for Musical Composition.


Hamilton turns architecture into a seemingly living membrane, reawakening the viewer to otherwise conventional surrounds. Her interest in boundaries is further amplified in her video and photographic works, which focus on the physiological and sensory aspect of speech.


Recipient of the Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship (1989), a Louis Comfort Tiffany Award (1990), and the coveted MacArthur Award (1993), Hamilton’s work has been shown at the 47th Venice Biennale (1997) and 48th Venice Biennale (1999). Her solo exhibitions have also been presented at Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1988); San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla, California (1990); Dia Center for the Arts, New York (1993); Tate Gallery Liverpool and Museum of Modern Art, New York (1994); Musée d’Art Contemporain, Lyon (1997); and Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal (1998).


Please refer to attached annexes for more information.

  • Annex 1 – Credit List
  • Annex 2 – Profile of Meredith Monk
  • Annex 3 – Profile of Ann Hamilton