The Shan Hai Jin, a research project directed by the Toccata Studio from Malaysia, invited six artists and scientists from around the world to share professional skills and knowledge. Inspired by and named after the Classic of Mountains and Seas, a Chinese classical text about mythical geography and creatures, this project was intended to cultivate ways to fuse art and science. In the online discussions moderated by Ng Chor Guan, six participants explored the ideas of non-linear thinking and creative sparks, hoping to find out how these ideas generate self-conscious narratives.
Bringing the perspectives of mythology, biological phenomenology, and cartography into the discussions, invited scientists and artists touched on issues of ecological crisis, genetic modification, the rapid expansion of cyberspace in our daily lives, and the self-healing power of nature. They were encouraged to build interdisciplinary knowledge while assessing its applicability to contemporary society and proving the self-reflexivity of arts. The interdisciplinary conversations were conducted and presented in numerous forms including written discourses, seminars, sketches, miniature devices, indigenous music, and documentary films. Thanks to this particular way of communication combining different content forms, participants came to realize again that the boundary between art and science is inherently absent.
Drawing creative ideas from the multidisciplinary reading of a Chinese classical text, this research project helped participants remain imaginative and use flexible thinking towards living appearances of the environment and its inhabitants.
The Toccata Studio is an experimental space exploring the concepts of contemporaneity, originality, and diversity in fine art, with its founding ambition to become a significant platform in Malaysia researching and developing performative art.
NG Chor Guan is a composer and sound artist. He is also the co-founder and director of the Toccata Studio. After his continuous research on different cultures in different parts of the world, he relates the local elements he has found to their own historical context while giving them new appearance in theaters.
Tan E-Jan is a contemporary art producer from Malaysia. She is the co-founder of the Toccata Studio. While serving as a board member of the Asia Producer's Platform, she advocates actively for contemporary interdisciplinary art in Asia. She has been invited to share her experiences of international collaborations in many art events worldwide.