In Disney’s empire of manufacturing “happiness,” animals and objects are anthropomorphized, formatted with US-American values and ways of being. Wherein lions are kings; monkey, cricket and fish are sidekicks to humans; teapot is a matriarchal surrogate; and zoos are utopias—all brightly constructed to keep humans self-centeredly entertained and within the empire’s global reach.
In Hong Kong Disneyland, Filipinos are the favorite entertainment labor force. They are employed as highly skilled, energetic, world-class happiness-machines and fabricated as experts in performing anything effectively entertaining.
This two-day workshop will create a new work as the third part of Jocson’s Happyland Series, Manila Zoo [working title]. In Happyland 1: Princess, two Filipino performers hijacked the figure of Snow White. Happyland 2: Your Highness, a group of ballet dancers unpacks their formatted ideal bodies made to enter the Disney workforce. This tertiary stage pushes Filipino performativity to transform from anthropomorphic happy animals in the Disneyland park into actual animals captured in the zoo, performing the labor of zoo animals.
The work is grounded in the study of animal behavior in zoos. Animals in the zoo have developed behavioral disorders not found in the wild, such as abnormal repetitive behavior and self-aggression. In confinement, animals suffer from isolation, stress, depression, anxiety, helplessness and boredom, and these symptoms strangely mirror conditions found in humans living in densely populated cities.
By performing as animals, the dancers will exit human logic and refuse to participate in servicing and entertaining as humans. However, as captives of the zoo they are constantly subjected to human voyeurism and exploitation.
This workshop will focus on discussing and mapping current contemporary dance practices both in Europe and Asia. Classes will focus on the idea of manipulating the body through understanding the relationship between internal and external time and space that exist in both environments through movement and introduces tools to explore a certain movement vocabulary that hopes to benefit the participant agency in their own practice and state of performativity. This excercise hopes to gain consciousness in engaging the entirety of the body to design architectural composition that proposes Ideal and Dystopia architecture. In turn, that this imagining transcends a certain sensation to its viewers.
The idea of creating an ideal identity will also be explored. Discussing what is “Ideal” and what is “Identity” through creating an alter-ego. To allow and manifest in our body, and to give it life.