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Reciprocate the Other 

Katharine Zhao

Jasmine Zhu




Meanings and gestures can sometimes be misinterpreted easily between two individuals due to a lack of communication or having different thought processes. We believe that two individuals can share commonalities and differences through abstract words that have not been clearly defined. How the interpretation of words affects one and the others' behaviour on a daily basis. Even more, we explore the formation of assimilation through encountering body gestures. 


In this time-based performance, we aim to define abstract ideas with our bodies without anticipating each other beforehand. Our overlapping shadows on the screen connect us and translate our definitions of the verbs to each other. We come up with the idea that each individual identifies their identities through the Other and otherness, and from this projection of the otherness, we also see ourselves and sometimes adapt subconsciously. However, there is always a flickering layer of translucency that refrains us from directly interpreting the Other.  


Collaboration is an essential aspect of our project, as it indicates a reciprocal relationship between each other. We each came up with five abstract verbs to construct this performance. The duration of how long each word is to be delivered is 15 seconds. In addition, our prerecorded audio serves as an instruction for the “TODO.” In this piece, defining oneself to the Other completes the Other simultaneously. The darker overlaps of our shadows indicate how we come together as individuals and through communications, create a stronger bond. 


If we are presented with the possibility in the future to present this performance again in an ideal setup. We will explore our concept further by extending the performance length by repeating the movements several times. While observing each other’s shadows, we will aim to achieve a synchronized delivery of the words through a linkage of silhouettes. By trying to understand each other’s motions and gestures, we “talk” without words but understand each other through resonating our body language, like how mutual understanding is often achieved in life: through compromise and empathy. 

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