Akeroyd Collection


Kang Seung Lee, The Heart of A Hand, 2023

The Heart of A Hand pays tribute to Goh Choo San (1948–1987), a pioneering Singaporean-born choreographer who died of an AIDS-related illness at the age of thirty-nine. Goh Choo San choreographed and performed for prominent ballet companies throughout Asia, Europe, and North America during his lifetime, and yet his legacy remains largely absent from queer, cultural, and dance histories in the United States. In an act of radical archiving, Kang Seung Lee redresses this history by manifesting a queer futurity across different relations and histories of solidarity. The single-channel video, created in collaboration with Joshua Serafin and Nathan Mercury Kim is a piece of choreographed dance for camera, loosely based on Goh’s neo-classical ballet, Configurations, commissioned by American Ballet Theatre in 1981. In the work, we see Serafin, a Filipina dancer and choreographer based in Belgium, who embodies an exuberant spectrum of emotions reflected in the intensity of the dance. KIRARA, a transgender composer and musician based in Seoul, takes inspiration from the original score for Goh’s Configurations, to create a revitalized soundtrack for queer life in the contemporary moment. The Heart of A Hand derives its name from a poem by Mexican writer Xavier Villaurrutia (1903–1950). And in a final element of this trans-disciplinary project, several passages by Villaurrutia and other artists of Goh’s generation, appear in different forms alongside other artefacts laid on the performance floor. Each text is transcribed into a font that draws direct inspiration from the distinctive hand illustrations that feature so frequently in the paintings of artist Martin Wong (1946–1999). This is a conscientious conflation of time, place, culture, and modes of address. Yet, from the archival material, text, dance and music, a polyvocal approach is able to lend a convincing remedial quality to normative histories - histories that almost certainly overlooked marginalised perspectives and personal experiences that were crucial to the historic struggles for change.

MediumSingle-channel 4K video, colour, sound
Duration13 minutes 13 seconds
Editionof 5 + 2 APs