okay.odd. explores the construction of curiosity, and the space between thought and perception — inviting the audience to “encounter a version of themselves that they feel, but do not know.”

This “multimedia meditation session” was created by Hong Kong Exile — an interdisciplinary arts company led by artists Milton Lim (theatre), Natalie Tin Yin Gan (dance), and Remy Siu (new music).

As projection and sound become the core of the meditation, the performer, Aryo Khakpour, serves as the constant presence that grounds the audience in the space of contemplation.

The Peak was able to chat with lead artist Milton Lim ahead of the production’s full-length rEvolver debut.

The Peak: Can you describe the performance and how it is being presented?  

Milton Lim: okay.odd. is a multimedia meditation session where I lead the audience through a process of word association. Through projected text and image, you are encouraged to follow your mind’s curiosity, your tangential thoughts, and potential unconscious beliefs.

P: What do you mean by “multimedia meditation session”?

ML: My combining of multimedia and meditation started as a small joke, pairing two things that otherwise seem contrary. It has since become an earnest attempt at creating a space for personal introspection and centredness, using digital media as the medium by which we come to understand this particular type of meditation.

P: How is this piece different from other productions that Hong Kong Exile has done in the past?

ML: Each of Hong Kong Exile’s projects has been different. We take turns as project leads, so I have been the primary artist behind okay.odd. This piece has also been a testing ground as I move into designing my own visual media and sound design, which will continue to serve me as a director/creator of original works.

P: How close did you come to what you described as “constructing curiosity” and “allowing curiosity in all directions”?

ML: I can only go off feedback of the people who have spoken to me after the piece, but I would say: we’ve come very close.

P: In your artist statement, you mentioned being “fascinated by our societal adherence to exist in environments surrounded by screens and moving images”; and how, “we are continually shaped by our relationship with these materials.” Can you explain what you meant and how it relates to the performance?

ML: When I was doing my psychology degree at SFU, I was fascinated by social systems and how many lived experiences and identities we can subscribe to at once.

I’m interested in how our identities are becoming (for better or for worse) increasingly framed and sometimes hidden away by emergent technologies. Especially considering the psychology of marketing; design of user interfaces; game-like reward-based interactivity; and our proximity to a screen/content at any given moment.

Most of okay.odd. takes place on a flat 2-dimensional screen and I’m attempting to distill some of these processes to make visible some thought-patterning that we may or may not be conscious of.

After presenting multiple excerpts, the full-length version officially premieres at The Cultch, from May 12–21.