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June 3rd, 13-15h

Learning and study building in Göttingen University 

Platz d. Göttinger Sieben 3a, 37073 Göttingen

This workshop has been organized at the behest of Dr. Yumin Ao, a faculty member at the University of Göttingen, who serves as the coordinator for the theater program within the Department of East Asian Studies. With Dr. Ao's direction, the research-based theater project, "Folding Cities: A Lecture Performance on Unpleasant, Exclusive, and Hostile Designs in Urban Space," was conceptualized and realized. The project will reach its pinnacle with a performance by Dr. Ao and her team in Frankfurt on July 8th. For further information concerning this project, please refer to


This body movement workshop/experiment is based on the research about „Folding City“ , which dives into the topic “spatial inequality/ hostile design or architecture in urban / squeezing time and space”. We are here to explore the space of our body in somatic ways, through walking in space, falling down and standing up, finding/defining the margin of spaces. Then we go deeper into the research questions by playing theater games like “random speech”, “Archive the space” and “video painting”. 


My research questions :


1, how do people move their body alongside the margin of the space ? How to find/ define the margin of the space ? How do you get hurt by the space and how to prevent yourself from getting hurt ?


2, how does the space fold ? My design in the workshop is to distribute different time into 10/7/3 seconds for using the space. Is there another way ? ( here we explore how to show the inequality in a obvious and symbolic way )


3, how to combine lectures and other art forms ? how to develop the method of video painting into a good form ?


4, how do we bring our own social roles and personal experience into this workshop/ experiment ? For example I also had 5 years living in the margin of city and village 城乡结合部, how does it affect myself ?


5, be aware, when we speak about the underprivileged people, do not represent them. How to deal with it ?


photo credit : Yumin Ao

Workshop Report by Yinfu


Thinking of virtual space —a practice since corona time for myself


I really appreciate this chance to share a workshop “body & space – research about folding city” with students in Göttingen University. After a long time dealing with the relation of virtual and physical space in the corona era, we could finally move our bodies in a space where we can see, sense and touch each other. That’s a big motivation to do the workshop. 


Although I warmly embrace and celebrate “body in presence” coming back to the physical space, I  still involved a bit of virtual space by using the iphone as a live camera connected with the screen. For me, that’s a legacy of art-making in the Corona era, it pushed me to think about virtual tools in performance. This always reminds me, theater as a physical space is not the only place that performance could happen. One of the important practices in this workshop is adapted from Gob Squad’s performance “Show me a good time”, in which several performers were out of the performance venue traveling in the Frankfurt city while chatting with the moderator and audiences inside of the theater. 


We did this practice from Gob Squad: 5 people in a group, one lecturer who speaks, one dancer who moves in space, one picks up the phone, one calls from outside, one photographer who uses a live camera to present. So one participant went outside of the rehearsal room and called another participant inside. Through their chatting, we get to know where the person was wandering, and the conversation also influenced the performers in the rehearsal room to react to the situation. For example, the lecturer was waiting for the person to come back, this became a decision that the lecturer kept turning body to see the window and not carrying on the speech. 


Also, the live-camera photographer used an iphone to show details of the space and movement/ facial expressions from the dancer and lecturer in the practice. I noticed that the photographer is playing with this tool, she intentionally shooted the laptop screen that the live camera connected to. This caused the visual effects of “mirror in the mirror”. Clearly, the camera plays a role. In the aftertalk, the dancer shared the feeling that she felt her existence by being seen by the camera. I also add another point that using live came on stage could be possible for the montage of different elements. I can imagine, while the lecturer speaks one thing, the live camera could capture something as an example or totally in the contrast during the performance.


Folding Peking–How to visualize the conflicts of the spatial relation ? 


I was inspired by the novel “Folding Peking” written by Jingfang Hao. The design of the practice “Folding city” is based on the idea that one day is divided into 24, 14, 8 hours for upper, middle, and lower classes in the society. In the workshop, I set the rule to be : 3 people in a group, one chair represents Peking, one day is 20 seconds, A takes 10 seconds on the chair, B 7 seconds and C unfortunately 3 seconds, an outsider masters the time-counting, when one person is on the chair, the other two must lie down on the floor. After the first round, 3 participants were exhausted by this rule : it takes some time to stand up and get to the chair, C always hurries up and has less time to sit. They are even influenced by the counting speed. 


It happens automatically that the three participants started to discuss how to deal with this inequality. My design for this practice also encourages the collective brain to think of ideas to change the rule. Then we experimented as following : 


1, the time-counting person could flexibly change the speed of counting.


The time-counting person clearly showed mercy to person C that the speed of counting 1,2,3 is slower than the clock ticking, due to this, C didn’t hurry up so much. But at the same time, B started to move the chair far away from C intentionally, this change influenced the following sessions, which built up a possibility that people not only sit on the chair, but also to utilize the chair for their own purpose – to reduce/add obstacles for the next person. In other words, to show kindness or to harm people in the society.


2, A B C counts the time on their own.


Since time as a resource is not a big deal for A B C any more, A started to bring the chair closer to B because A has a lot of time. B invented the way to add difficulties for C to get on the chair by putting objects on it or lying down on the way to the chair.

This group even magnified the power dynamics. It shows to me, even if we could control our own time, it doesn't bring fair enough equality.


3, B counts time for A, C for B, C for A.


In this group, the situation reversed : getting on the chair doesn’t mean enjoying your own time and space, it becomes even more anxious because you need to react upon the next person’s counting speed. Therefore, lying down on the floor suddenly becomes one’s own privilege, because the person is chilling on their own and also controlling the other person’s time. 


Practice of body & movement in space


My body & movement practice is influenced by the performance and workshops I have seen from other artists. The dance artist Frederic de Carlo shared the somatics method with me. In the dance session, I developed my practice of releasing my mind  and I keep my eyes shut, which also shuts down the self-judgment of “Do I look great ? Do I dance correctly ?” and putting my mind as an observer, it’s my body which leads the whole movement in space. I brought the lying down-standing up exercise into the warm up session. Most importantly, I asked the participants to feel their feet supported by the floor whether they stand or move. 


Another practice of “eye contact & movements” comes from the performance of Dora Garcia “Two planets have been colliding for thousands of years”(2017). In this practice, two participants have an invisible thread to connect each other by using eye contact. They could play with the distance between each other, the space in the level of high & middle & low, or play with the gaze in the sense of Brechtian social gesture. For example, someone could be driven by the gaze to move, or feel threatened to go down to the floor, etc.

Report about the Workshop on Body & Space 

by Yumin Ao


On June 3, a three-hour workshop was conducted by the Ying Ming Theater, in collaboration with seven students from the University of Göttingen. The workshop, titled "Body & Space," was facilitated by Ms. Yinfu Gao, a choreographer in Applied Theater Studies from the University of Gießen. 

The physical workshop held significant meaning as an integral of the theatrical production by Ying Ming Theater, which is set to be presented in Frankfurt on July 8th. Dr. Yumin Ao, a faculty member at the University of Göttingen, assumes the role of the coordinator for the theater program within the Department of East Asian Studies. Under her direction, the research-based theater project, titled "Folding Cities: A Lecture Performance on Unpleasant, Exclusive, and Hostile Designs in Urban Space," was conceptualized and realized.

Inspired by the theatrical project's exploration of themes like "spatial inequality," "hostile design or architecture in urban settings," and "the transformation, squeezing, and expansion of space," the body movement workshop aimed to delve into these concepts. Through somatic approaches such as spatial walking, experiencing falls and recoveries, and discovering/defining spatial boundaries, participants engaged with the spatial dimensions of their bodies. 

The workshop commenced with a warm-up exercise aimed at guiding participants to explore walking in space and sensing the support of the floor beneath their bodies. This was followed by a practice involving gaze and movement within confined areas. Participants engaged in bodily movements, traversing different spatial levels of HIGH, MIDDLE, and LOW while maintaining constant eye contact and playing with the proximity between one another. The third segment of the workshop, titled "the squeezed time in Space," was designed to delve into power dynamics within spatial contexts. This part sparked numerous discussions pertinent to the subject matter of the "Folding Cities" project, fostering challenges among participants to establish new game rules. Ultimately, the participants collaboratively crafted a video painting, bringing a scene to life without prior rehearsal.

By actively participating in the workshop, the students gained a heightened awareness of their role in the inclusive performance's creative process. The workshop's intention was to empower them and encourage their active contributions toward the development of a performance that embraces diversity and inclusivity. 

Yumin Ao


Thanks to all the participants !

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