Cyber Subin

photo by Lee Chia Yeh

In the process of creating his previous performance No. 60, Pichet Klunchun astutely interrogated and dissected the classic canon of theppanom that consists of 59 core poses and movements that all Thai dancers need to master. He deconstructed this canon by deploying methodologies from architecture, physics, mathematics, and science. This resulted in a series of analytical diagrams of poses and movements, where extrapolated shapes connect and frame the physicality, energy, and anatomy of the Thai dancing body. Through this, Pichet speculated on what could come after; not a tangible dance movement routine but a set of new principles consisting of major elements in which dancers practise.

Cyber Subin heralds the next chapter of Pichet Klunchun’s core choreographic principle. In this work, Pichet subjects his methodology to cybernetic theory, focusing on live dancers responding to kinetic output from AI technology, consistently underscored by the movement system. Pichet explored the intersection between dance and cybernetics through workshops where AI was informed by the six elements of the No. 60 Principle and by the feedback of the dancers’ bodies. This led to formulating an algorithm with the potential to compose movements—or choreograph—outside the human body.

The engagement between human and machine has resulted in exciting choreographic possibilities for Cyber Subin. Together, dancers and AI dream a performance ensuring the development, innovation, and even survival of classical or traditional dances. Cyber Subin is Pichet’s premonition of how dance, choreography and art can coexist in the age of machine and AI.