Photo by Thor Brødreskift
In M. Butterfly, characteristics of cause and effect exist on their own terms – in a kinetic theater where the materials take the lead role. The theater is inspired by the play M. Butterfly (1988) written by David Henry Hwang in response to the opera Madame Butterfly (1904) by Giacomo Puccini. The play raises questions around global politics, orientalism, gender, race relations and prejudice between the East and West. In Hankyuls version the material itself gets to play the parts. Blown glass forms sonic chambers where the sound of the material emanates and spreads throughout the room. Slumps of glass melted to a condition between hard and soft, flexible and static, warm and cold points to fantasies and tendencies we have of acquiring qualities to bodies, race and gender expressions. In particular this relates to how the Western gaze throughout time has imposed its own binary read on the East, as the character Song from Hwangs play states; “..when he finally met his fantasy woman, he wanted more than anything to believe that she was, in fact, a woman. And second, I am an Oriental. And being an Oriental, I could never be completely a man”.