All charged up over body parts

In Being, And Organs, dancer Pichmutta Puangtongdee aims to balance herself atop two exercise balls to depict her uneasy navigation between humanity and technology.
In Being, And Organs, dancer Pichmutta Puangtongdee aims to balance herself atop two exercise balls to depict her uneasy navigation between humanity and technology. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

What would a future in which you could charge a phone with your heart look like?

Home-grown contemporary dance company Raw Moves looks at transhumanism and artificial body parts in Being, And Organs, an experimental "research and design" work that runs from Thursday until Saturday.

The 75-minute work is conceptualised by Taiwanese artist Paul Gong, 30, whose work involves speculating about the future of humans and machines, and how they might meld.

This is the latest chapter of his work, which has featured different body parts in various locations.

In Taiwan, he focused on armpit hair; in South Korea, the appendix. In Singapore, it will be the heart.

"If we see the body as a machine, the heart is the engine or motor that powers it up," he says.

He wants to explore the notion of the "currency heart", an organ that is self-sustainable and produces its own energy.

The performers imbued the work with their own opinions of transhumanism.

Matthew Goh, 26, embraces the concept. "I want to find the human-ness in transhumanism. I believe that through it, we can be more connected with human society."

In one of the work's "experiments", Goh invites audience members to sit across from him at a table and "charge" their phone by sustaining unbroken eye contact with him.

Remote video URL

It is a process for which he has to emotionally prepare himself. "It can go from calming to unsettling. It's a roller-coaster ride."

His fellow dancer Pichmutta Puangtongdee, 23, who goes by the moniker Dada, has her doubts about incorporating technology into the human body, which she fears will threaten what makes one human.


  • WHERE: Multi-Purpose Studio 1 and 2, Block O, Goodman Arts Centre, 90 Goodman Road

    WHEN: Thursday, 8pm; Friday and Saturday, 3 and 8pm. Friday's 3pm show is sold out

    ADMISSION: $28, $25 (concession) from For more details, e-mail


To depict her uneasy navigation between humanity and technology, she balances on two exercise balls, her body stretching and twisting as she tries to keep herself atop the rolling balls.

Audience members may roam freely through the space during the work and are encouraged to interact with the performers and examine archival documentation, video footage and even a 3D-printed heart Gong has supplied.

Being, And Organs is the latest in Raw Moves' arc of work this year, "System", which explores how emerging technology could affect humanity.

Earlier works included Ghost Call, a collaboration with playwright Nabilah Said about one-sided communication and missed connections; and Subtle Downtempo No by Australian-Japanese group Murasaki Penguin, about how systems can isolate individuals.

"Sometimes, we want to be efficient and we use technology to help us, but sometimes, we're at the mercy of these machines," says Raw Moves artistic director Ricky Sim, 49.

"We talk of Smart Nation, but are we prepared as human beings, as individuals?"

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 17, 2019, with the headline All charged up over body parts. Subscribe