Studio 7 Residency 2022

PS was pleased to announce the launch of the Studio 7 Residency Program in late 2021 by offering the opportunity of a free studio space for a year for an emerging West Australian visual artist. The residency also includes an exhibition/performance season included in PS program for the year. With an aim to reduce financial stresses, this residency seeks to promote experimentation, growth, critical discussion and progress in the arts. Xin Hui Ong was selected by our panel for 2022 :

Xin is an emerging independent contemporary dance artist based in Perth. She has a strong interest in the role of the arts in health and community.

Born in Singapore, she has also lived in the UK, Israel and Australia. She moved to Australia to pursue medicine at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. Working as a doctor, she found that the health issues faced by patients were largely rooted in a lack of connection; to their own bodies, to purpose and to others. These aspects of life could not be directly addressed by modern medicine, but could be accessed through the arts, and dance in particular.

In 2017, Xin went on to pursue dance full-time. She moved to Perth in 2018, and was fortunate to be selected to be as the Rogue resident with STRUT in Perth – through this she was able to attend workshops with artists from international companies such as Hofesh Shechter and Kidd Pivot, as well as workshops on interdisciplinary collaborations led by Australian artists. Since then, interdisciplinary collaboration has become her primary focus, and she has partnered with dancers, musicians, photographers, videographers, and installation artists, to produce various developments. Her first dance film, Kindred, which premiered in Vancouver, Canada, and has also been presented in Adelaide during Australian Dance Theatre’s Flow: Dance on screen series in 2021.

Last year, Xin had the opportunity to attend in the works lab at PS, which presented the opportunity to engage in solo practice. She partnered up with one of the trusty chairs available in the space, exploring the possibilities within her relationship to the chair.

Xin hopes that working in PS, home to artists across all disciplines, will be a valuable opportunity to continue in organic exchange, conversation and cross-pollination of ideas across artistic disciplines, and open the doors to new and exciting interdisciplinary collaboration.

“Through practice sharing with the other participants in the lab, I gained fresh insights, and started to experiment with integrating language, text and voice in choreography in new ways.

Working in PS, home to artists across all disciplines, will be a tremendously valuable opportunity to continue in organic exchange, conversation and cross-pollination of ideas across artistic disciplines, and hopefully open the doors to new and exciting interdisciplinary collaboration.”

Video created by Xin Hui Ong
Supported by In The Works for PS Studio 7 Residency
Music by Nicholas Gardiner
Videography by Georgia Ivers

Xin's residency blog

This is not a chair.

This is not about gender or sexuality.

I don't know how I well I would hold up in a psychologist's office.

Psychologists talk about the phenomenon of transference, where we project how we might feel about some other relationship, and take it out on those around us. Something in someone triggers something in us to subconsciously re-enact a script that was written by the dynamics of a previous relationship, bringing the emotional baggage of one relationship into another.

I have been on the receiving end of this before. Suddenly, I find I am behaving quite differently from how I normally would.

Sometimes I feel more like a sponge, soaking up others’ energy when they interact with me. Even thought I might not seem any different on the outside, I sometimes wonder if I carry the invisible imprint of the energy of that experience to my next interaction.

Whether we realise it or not, we take the shape or form of others’ expectations. If we are expected to perform a certain way, we will live up to it. If given a benchmark to meet, we align with it.

Teachers bring much more than their expertise on a particular subject to the room, they also bring their expectations of their students. The Pygmalion effect is so powerful that teachers can improve or impede learning before they even say a word.

Without consciously or explicitly articulating what we expect, we convey it subconsciously and implicitly; through what is left unsaid, through remarks based on the beliefs or character traits we have projected onto another party, through our actions.

Our physicality, our body language, is far less ambiguous than the stuff of words, which mere containers for humans to imbue meaning. Humans don’t always realise that meaning is not inherent to a word, but couched in a person’s experience and understanding of the word. When the word is used by another, it could actually convey something quite different.

I've always felt my nature to be nurturing and supportive. To be there for others. To hold others up. Crafted this way by design.

With four legs, and a surface that is more or less flat, I do share similarities with a table. I certainly have held plates of food, water bottles, notebooks and pens. As much as I acknowledge the power of our actions and body language, but does merely having performed these functions make me a table?

I don't know how I well I would hold up in a psychologist’s office. I probably wouldn't match any of the other furniture there. A philosophy class, perhaps.

I, the undersigned,
The Chair


My solo movement research at the beginning of the residency from February-April 2022 investigated the referential nature of art and language in relationship to a chair.

In defining my relationship with the chair through writing, speaking and movement-creation, I explored the impact of language on performance-making, and delving into the themes of representation within art.

This research led to collaboration with dancer, Sarah Chaffey, and musician, Azariah Felton, exploring these ideas in a 10-minute solo piece entitled Ceci n'est pas une chaise (this is not a chair), referencing Ceci n'est pas une pipe (this is not a pipe), René Magritte’s representation of a pipe in oil painting (1929).

This will be presented at Short Cuts season from 19-21 May 2022 at King St Arts Centre by STRUT Dance.

Tickets are available:


“Because they are so long-lived, atoms really get around. Every atom you possess has almost certainly passed through several stars and been part of millions of organisms on its
way to becoming you. We are each so atomically numerous and so vigorously recycled at death that a significant number of our atoms—up to a billion for each of us, it has been
suggested—probably once belonged to Shakespeare. A billion more each came from Buddha and Genghis Khan and Beethoven, and any other historical figure you care to name.
(The personages have to be historical, apparently, as it takes the atoms some decades to become thoroughly redistributed; however much you may wish it, you are not yet one with Elvis Presley.) So we are all reincarnations—though short-lived ones. When we die our atoms will disassemble and move off to find new uses elsewhere—as part of a leaf or other human being or drop of dew. Atoms, however, go on practically forever.”
Bill Bryson, A Really Short History of Nearly Everything I stand here in this empty space, contemplating the empty walls, waiting for the next installation. I feel a tremendous sense of longing – a sense of potential waiting to be fulfilled. Perhaps a memory waiting to happen, an indelible impregnation of atoms that have reacted with other atoms to leave an imprint.
These days the number of people coming into the space to take in art is dwindling. I can’t help but ponder the relationship between artist and audience.
My favourite audience is the artist, the aesthete, the one who leans in, inspired by what is before them in the gallery space, and takes the time to take it in. Who is that person, what would they be inspired by? What can I make for them? Is an artist does is shaped by the art- making? Who is the artist within that?


Ceci n'est pas une chaise (this is not a chair) is a triptych that weighs in on a historical discourse around representation and reality, picking up from Renee Magritte's (1929) picture of a pipe with the text Ceci n'est pas une pipe (this is not a pipe). The picture of the pipe is not the pipe, "the word is not the thing". We first consider how everything is created twice - it must first be a thought, a belief, a word, before it is brought into reality. In considering Plato's Cave, our experience as shadows of reality, we then navigate our autonomy to shape reality by navigating our beliefs, our metaphysical reality, and re-examining our conceptions and definitions of an idea.

Film of the whole work here:

Ceci n'est pas une chaise (this is not a chair) - Short Cuts development. Choreographed by Xin Hui Ong in collaboration with Sarah Chaffey. Performed by Sarah
Chaffey. Music by Azariah Felton, with extracts of voice from Mary Morrissey's TED talk on The Hidden Code For Transforming Dreams Into Reality. "To create the score for this work, I recorded a range of sounds from the chair that was used for the choreography. I then used a range of techniques to abstract and edit those sounds,
incorporating them into the work to reflect the overarching concept. We also reflected some
of these same concepts in the instruments, reversing sounds to render them recognisable, but still unfamiliar."
- Azariah Felton

"Like most of my creative processes and collaborations, the creative material I produce is the by-product of rigorous improvisations and writing to flesh out ideas around the concept. Although considered, tweaked and refined for final performance, much of this content is a result of spontaneity, happy accidents and a state of flow. The addition of the chair as a prop invited child-like play and wonder--more than usual given the questioning of a chair's
identity and purpose through the concept. What if this actually isn't a chair or the idea of a chair doesn't exist? How else might I relate it to my body, my movement and the space we both find ourselves in?"
- Sarah Chaffey

"Meta-reflective of the process of bringing representation to reality, the process of creating it in itself reflected the metamorphosis from the containers of meaning we use (words, even non-verbal words) to represent concept, into reality through deconstructing and
reconstructing with a concept. My approach to collaboration involves presenting a seed of an idea or concept and allowing it to be evolved by the voices of the collaborators in conversation. One of my fascinations within interdisciplinary work is discovering and
developing a shared vocabulary from which we are able to effectively communicate. This can come from a variety of communication mediums, from text, from movement, from visuals, from sample audio. The time at PS in solo exploration has been useful in germinating this
vocabulary within the confines of my own practice and imagination. Synergy with Azariah and Sarah added another level of nuance and sophistication through their artistry, innovation, imagination and talent in an incredibly limited time of 20 rehearsal hours."
- Xin Hui Ong

A combination of deliberation, serendipity, and mystery, artistic choice is deeply shaped by intention and suggestion. The extract of voice within the work makes the statement

"Everything is created twice". Watching the work, you will notice that this is created by three people, in three parts, with three sections to each part. Layers of collaboration do not stop with the performers, but continue in the dialogue between the creatives and the audience.
How will the conversation continue? As art informs life, and life informs art, perhaps it will be your chair, or your TED talk, that will shape my next work. Perhaps you will be my next collaborator.

I2 Project October 2022

I2 is an immersive installation with interactive music and visual art, and featuring an improvised movement performance. I'm working in collaboration with Azariah Felton, composer / interactive systems designer, Ash Morgan & Clancy Martin, visual artists, Sarah Chaffey, performer, and Leah Sellwood, marketer.

Do we really have free will? Step into i2, where you decide how the work goes, where you create your own reality. i2 speaks to the unspoken influence of audience on art-making.
Over the past couple of weeks, we have been hard at work in the final phase of development, setting up the installation, rehearsing and fine-tuning the interactive system and sound design. We also recorded the voices of various artists in Fremantle, speaking about the intersection of free will and the influence we have on each others lives, and quite organically ended up exploring the autonomy we have as artists in the act of creation. Check these out when you choose your journey at the performance.

Come to the pilot preview of this work on 15 and 16 October to have your say on how you might want this work to grow.
Studio 7 will open its doors to present the technology. Explore how your movement can influence the micro-installation by connecting with the Kinect interface. Change the installation on the interactive touch screen interface. Create your own reality within a sonic and visual landscape. Be part of a unique performance experience from 6pm. Grab a drink at the bar and put your name in the draw to co-create the work with us on the interactive interface. Selected audience members will be announced at 6:45pm, and all will be led upstairs for a 7pm performance and feel free to stay for the post-performance discussion about where this work could go.

You will never walk into the same performance of i2 twice. Connect to the interface. Let your imagination create your reality as you manipulate the music and visual projections. Co-create the evening performance with the improvising artists. Have your say as this work grows!