Taiwanese queer sensation｜Betty Apple and Social Dis Dance lead a high-profile performance MIRAGE ECSTASY at the opening night of Luxembourg Art Week
After their performance at the Sonic Shaman－TheCube Forum Music Festival at the end of 2022, Taiwan’s queer mermaid diva, Betty Apple, and the avant-garde electronic ensemble Social Dis Dance, are invited to perform at the Casino Luxembourg – Forum d’art contemporain for the newly produced piece MIRAGE ECSTASY, kicking off the annual Luxembourg Art Week.
MIRAGE ECSTASY is organized by Casino Luxembourg in collaboration with the TheCube Project Space, marking their fourth partnership. The performance took place on the evening of November 10, 2023 European time, extending into the midnight hours. It is an artistic spectacle combining narrative storytelling, technology, audiovisual, live performance and installations, transforming the Casino Luxembourg into a fluid “oceanic space.” European audiences were invited to immerse themselves in the philosophical contemplations of the body sensations and the rituals of celebration.
Date | November 10, 2023, 8pm-3am
Talk | November 11, 2023, 5pm (Amy Cheng and Betty Apple)
Performance Venue| Casino Luxembourg－Forum d’art contemporain
Organizer | Casino Luxembourg－ Forum d’art contemporain
Organizing Partner | TheCube Project Space
Supported by Ministry of Culture of Luxembourg, National Culture and Arts Foundation, Act for the Future Program, and Department of Cultural Affairs, Taipei City Government
MIRAGE ECSTASY features two mesmerizing and interwoven art performances, Mermaid Escape Room and Social Dis Dance, which employ live art and experimental electronic music to create a seamless blend of visuals and sound. Starting from the context of Taiwanese sci-fi queer culture, the show leads the audience into the realm of contemporary alternative body thinking. The live set of MIRAGE ECSTASY combines the multimedia designs by Viktor Lin and Horse Huang, along with visual artist Teom Chen’s utilization of an AI-generated system, transforming the gallery into a digital “oceanic dreamscape.” Additionally, Taiwanese queer photographer Chien-Wen Lin captures real-time imagery, presenting the performers’ physical reflections while experimenting with electronic audio waves to generate a strange and trance-inducing neo-cult experience.
The first segment, Mermaid Escape Room, is rooted in the philosophy of bodily transformation, reimagining the body’s possibilities. Through the portrayal of mermaids, it unveils the multi-layered and diverse facets of body politics. Simultaneously, it challenges traditional gender norms and societal conventions, presenting mermaids as symbols of disruptive and deconstructive identities. The term “Escape Room” originates from a microgenre that emerged in 2016 on streaming music platforms. The music genre primarily features innovative music from LGBTQ artists influenced by digital algorithms. It showcases contemporary queer imagery of evasion, fluidity, and transformation. In the “Space Ocean” created by the symbols of “mermaids” and “escape rooms,” the audience is invited to enter a game of mermaid transformation, experiencing post-digital age surreal memes. This immersive experience leads the audience into a hypnotic state where identities and power dynamics are swapped, engendering a sense of disorientation and introspection, echoing the question, “Who am I? Where am I?” This scenario portrays the metamorphosis and escape within the realm of body politics.
In terms of its atmospheric design, Mermaid Escape Room seeks to transcend traditional frameworks, guiding the audience to break free from the connotations associated with identity, gender, and societal constructs. The second section, Social Dis Dance, strives to break away from established performance theories. Through the electronic medium, it propels the audience from a pagan ritualistic setting into an energetic dance party atmosphere. The live music draws on Taiwan’s identity as an oceanic island, symbolizing a mystical force. With its deep and edgy industrial music rhythms and sharp dance tracks, it immerses the audience in a distorted and fluid temporal experience. Betty Apple’s live performance, characterized by “improvised murmurs,” explores complex themes such as sexuality, death, climate change, technology, and war. This journey leads the audience through a labyrinth, culminating in a transcendent celebration of both mind and body.
Social Dis Dance Production Team:
- Betty Apple (Live Art / Vocal / Music Production)
- Viktor Lin (Live Music / Visual Director)
- Hoser Huang (Live Music)
- Teom Chen (Visual Design / VJ / AI generator system design)
- Chien-Wen Lin (Live Cameraman)
- Yi-Wei Tien (Dancer)
- Rizzy (Dancer)
- Migu (DJ, Labelboat, Berlin)
Installation Design: A Copy of a Copy, Madeinvoid Space Design
Stage Manager: Chun-Han Chiang
Creative Production Manager: Po-Tsun Lin
About Social Dis Dance
Social Dis Dance was established amidst the outbreak of Covid-19. The cleverly coined band name, “Social Dis Dance,” subtly alludes to the pandemic-era terminology, “Social Distance.” The group consists of three artists over the age of 30: sound artist Betty Apple, multimedia designer Viktor Lin, and interior designer Hoser Huang. They met each other in parties and collectively to discuss their shared observations and experiences navigating society. Each member brings their own unique artistic vision and expertise. With music as their medium, they integrate elements from industrial, contemporary electronic, and cyberpunk genres, crafting a distinctive sound that embodies Taiwanese futurism.
Building upon cyberpunk elements, Social Dis Dance’s stimulating creative style boldly challenges tradition, bringing fresh energy to Taiwan’s art scene and delivering performances with a potent impact on the audience. Their music, characterized by piercing noise and powerful rhythms, features impromptu frenzied chants, conjuring a futuristic ambiance. This musical approach not only represents a revolt against conventional tunes but also serves as an intense critique and exploration of contemporary societal issues.
Video documentation of past performance of SDD
Nuit Blanche (2022, Taipei,)
Melbourne Fringe Festival (2022)
Synergy Festival Festival: Digital Art and Electronic Music (2022, Taipei) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6KtyWb8IR4
Betty Apple, a Taipei-based artist, skillfully intertwines art and music in her work, with a strong focus on body politics and performance, all framed by her experiences as a millennial navigating post-colonial Taiwan. Her art transforms symbols of popular culture and consumerism into sound elements, often incorporating mass-produced erotic or entertainment items like vibrators, underwear, or sex dolls in a provocative and eerie manner, concealed within the body. Her aim is to explore the chaos and hysteria generated from input to output, distorted by the dynamics introduced by both humans and objects. Her central perspective symbolizes the suppression of sounds that have been meticulously controlled and perfected by science and patriarchy.
As a musician and sound artist, Betty Apple composes distinctive music by improvising with her body and objects. She seamlessly blends bodily movements, object sounds, and improvisational performances to craft a diverse and experimental auditory experience. Her music often pushes the boundaries of traditional music, delving into avant-garde territory and exploring the vast possibilities of sound.
Betty Apple has participated in numerous art events and exhibitions, including FdS Festival artistique des affects, des genres et des sexualités (2023, Lausanne), Pleasure & Protest (2022, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney), Melbourne Fringe (2022), Santarcangelo Festival 2050: FUTURO FANTASTICO (II movimento) (2021, Italy) , CQ 5 CTM x Club Qu x Resident Advisor Online Festival (2021), Mona Foma Festival (2021, Australia), Nuit Blanche (2022 and 2020, Taipei), Jogja Biennale (2019).
With computer science background, Viktor Lin works in the field of new media design, specializing in creating multi-sensory interactive works through the means of programming and coding. He founded the multimedia design studio A Copy of A Copy in 2014. Projects often utilize combined methods of real-time field recordings, motion detection, real-time generative audio-visual effects, resulting in a holistically coherent yet non-repetitive/unique sensory experience. Past event participation includes festivals, performances and exhibitions such as Melburn Fringe Festival, Taipei Digital Art Festival, Very Fun Park, Lacking Sound Fest., On Site etc.
Currently the owner of Madeinvoid Space Design and EdgeMan Market. As a space designer, Horse Huang usually takes materials such as wood and metal in his projects. On the other side, performance and sound takes on a more sensitive and intuitive role, extending the installation into the space and creating a unique connection. By using synthesizers to create sounds with different textures, he creates sounds with unique expressions in the space. This experience allows him to examine the space we inhabit from various perspectives, providing him with an opportunity to gain a new understanding of the essence of architecture.
About Casino Luxembourg
Ideally located in the heart of the capital, Casino Luxembourg – Forum d’art contemporain, founded in 1996, holds contemporary art exhibitions with an international program of mainly younger-generation artists. The art centre houses public spaces with various uses and vocations, combining today’s art with a warm and friendly meeting place: the ground floor, next to a bookshop and a library specializing in contemporary art, has an area dedicated to learning activities and a restaurant. The first floor is exclusively used for temporary exhibitions, so artists’ monographs and themed exhibitions are shown here. These are completed by a varied program of guided tours, conferences, concerts, and workshops for all.
About Luxembourg Art Week
By positioning itself as a springboard for the careers of emerging artists, the art centre supports their development and achievements on their artistic journey, while offering them visibility to a diverse audience and within a vast international professional network. Since its establishment in 1996, Casino Luxembourg has been the country’s leading contemporary art centre with an international profile. Always on the lookout for new trends, it functions as a catalyst and defender of ideas and thoughts on contemporary art, promoting exploration, experimentation and artistic innovation.