Beyond Carbon is an online festival presented by Hong Kong Ballet and M+ that seeks to raise awareness of the most urgent issue of our times—global climate change—through cultural and artistic means. Taking as its starting point the scientific consensus that human activity is the major cause of climate change, the programme is a call to mindful collective action to save our planet for future generations. Set against the monumental architecture of the Herzog and de Meuron–designed M+ building, the eight short, choreographed chapters by Jessica Burrows, Luis Cabrera, Sarita Chan, Feng Jingyi, Li Lin, Lin Chang-yuan Kyle, Leung Chunlong and Jonathan Spigner, address environmental emergencies from two perspectives: Mortal Ignorance, tension between nature and humankind, and Human Traces, the material traces on earth left by human activity. Viewers will be taken on a journey of exploration, reflection, and empowerment.
The online festival also comprises a special screening of The Measures, a new piece choreographed by Stephen Shropshire. This finale resonates with the overall theme by engaging the abstract form of dance to animate the materiality of the climate crisis.
The videos for the choreographed works will be available to view on this page and M+ website from 20 August to 4 September 2022.
View the eight short, choreographed chapters from two perspectives: Mortal Ignorance and Human Traces
Humankind behaves as if it were Master of the Universe, shaping the world to its will. This has been at the expense of Mother Nature, the guiding force of all creation.
Location: Main Hall, M+
Choreography: Jonathan Spigner
Music: Once Upon a Lucid Dream by Kishi Bashi
Change does not take place instantly; it happens slowly over time. Humankind’s development is related to that of other beings and things on Earth, exerting a slow irreversible impact upon all.
Location: Atrium, M+
Choreography: Leung Chunlong
Music: Sarajevo by Max Richter
While humanity is anxious about our future survival, we disregard the cries of nature. By ignoring the needs of our environment, humanity is embarking on an unnatural path along which we resist evolving into something not yet known.
Location: East Entrance, M+
Choreography: Luis Cabrera
Music: Ameno by ERA
Through mindful collective action, trees are planted, they flourish and grow, restoring ecological balance and harmony. A seed sown signifies new life and offers hope for the future.
Location: Lightwell Hall, M+
Choreography: Li Lin
Music: Station by Låpsley
The siren can be both captivating and alarming. Sirens can issue a warning, while the Sirens of Greek mythology would lure sailors to their deaths. In the pursuit of the temporary fulfilment of our desires, we permanently mark the environment. While our lives are fleeting, what we leave on the earth remains, accumulating over time, and adding to the destruction of the planet.
Location: The Forum, M+
Choreography: Jessica Burrows
Music: Rude by Shygirl
Everything in this world leaves traces.
All costumes and props for this piece were made from discarded plastic bags.
The plastic bags used in each rehearsal were collected by the choreographer over 8-months, and turned into costumes by tailoring and splicing.
After this intermittent accumulation, all props and costumes were assembled into one, their combined weight finally reaching 25 kilograms.
This work thus addresses the process of constant accumulation, and summons the power of dripping water to cut gaps through stone. Cutting and reusing each piece of plastic represents our trust in human wisdom, believing in art creation and our admiration for vitality.
Location: Found Space, M+
Choreography: Feng Jingyi
Music: Nisi Dominus, RV 608: Cum dederit by Antonio Vivaldi
A solo artist performs against a mountain of clothes discarded through the cycle of fast fashion, a devastating consequence of our greed and hubris. Performed to ‘Landslide’, written by Stevie Nicks and played by the American country group The Chicks, this dance compares our gratuitous waste to the devastation of a landslide.
Location: Grand Stair, M+
Choreography: Sarita Chan
Music: Landslide by The Chicks
Without conscious awareness, we are harming our environment with small actions every day. Should we take responsibility for the consequences of our actions, or continue to ignore them?
Location: Lightwell Hall, M+
Choreography: Lin Chang-yuan Kyle
Music: Arise by Christophe Filippi
Climate crisis has been discussed for years, yet for many, it is still more an abstract idea than imminent catastrophe. In this choreography Shropshire therefore chooses a purely abstract exploration of how environmental variations determine our experience of time and space. These “measures” can be understood as the effects of climate change on our personal (or collective) mobility, measures that frame or delineate new time space conditions. This is a poetic and virtuosic exploration of perseverance in the face of these progressive and irrevocable measures. Choreographed to music by the Brooklyn- and Copenhagen-based band Blue Foundation.
Choreography: Stephen Shropshire
*Shropshire’s The Measures is supported by the Performing Arts Fund NL.
Music: It Begins – Pt. 1 & 2 by Blue Foundation feat. Sara Savery