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Undressing Room

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Participant 1: Anonymous
(Completed on 6th February 2017, Singapore)

1) Why do you choose to be anonymous in this documentation?
I wasn’t confident how this information was going to be used. Society today, in Singapore, remains highly judgemental and there are people in certain camps that ride on the moral high horse of religion and righteousness, and will offer no mercy in shaming others.

2) What were your thoughts and feelings when you first read about Undressing Room?
This was a first in the nation. There’s a sense of suspense, apprehension and yet some excitement about it. Although nudity in an act is done before in the arts, involving a member of the audience is not. When I first saw the program, I didn’t know it was an one-to-one performance. I had thought it’ll be a small group and the performer would invite someone from the audience to participate in the act. It was a daring move, and  something very intriguing about it.

3) Describe your experience of Undressing Room.
I was a bit apprehensive at first, but the anxiety was quickly put away from the smile from the assistant. The process, the do’s and don’ts were clearly stated. She also explained the process inside the room. Disclaimers, terms and conditions were then clearly communicated before having to sign off the document.

When I first entered, I was anxious, thinking how to undress, how to react when both Ming and I were in the buff. As I was ushered to my seat, it became uncomfortable and awkward as we couldn’t communicate verbally. Ming kept his glance at me at all times. I didn’t know how to react. When he offered tea, I took a sip. Then it was another awkward moment, not knowing what an appropriate next step might be.

When Ming removed my shoes and led me to the centre of the room, he just stood there. Thoughts racing in my mind, “What should I do? Am I reacting appropriately? Was there something I should be doing but am not?”. It was when the actual undressing happened, piece by piece that surprisingly the comfort set in. The process was natural, not contrived. It felt fine doing so. There wasn’t embarrassment or shame. It felt comfortable.

4) What was it like for you, being a participant in Undressing Room?
It was a very unique experience for me. I didn’t know what to expect in the performance and how to react to Ming when I got to see him. There were mixed emotions from anxiety and excitement. There was a lot of possibilities that ran through my mind, what was installed and what would come out from this performance.  

I had initially thought that the most challenging part would be the stripping. To my surprise, the most awkward and challenging moment was when I first saw Ming and he ushered me to the seat. There was a few minutes where he simply stared at me. Keeping his glance at me, from time to time he smiled. There was no talking allowed and at times, I didn’t know how to react.  

5) How was it for you to undress each other and touch each other’s naked skin?
It was surprisingly comfortable. It didn’t feel like Ming was coercing or pressuring me. It felt like he was leading it but in a very comforting and soothing manner. It was professional, as it was meant to be.  So it didn’t feel awkward. The intimacy was comforting. Almost forgot I never knew Ming and he was as good as a stranger. I didn’t feel like there was any danger or he was going to do anything that was not with my consent.  

From time to time, there was arousal. There was a lot of restraint on my part as I remind myself that this was a performance and I should respect the rules of engagement. It wasn’t easy as many movements were intuitive and instinctive. Ming was very professional. There was no time that he did anything that was beyond what was required in the performance. Most importantly, it wasn’t erotic. It was intimate but not erotic. This was clearly not porn.  

6) What did you get out from the whole experience? 
Intimacy without the erotism requires a lot of discipline. It still feels good as well. I find this a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I wouldn’t have expected to do this if not for this performance. I had initially thought that we would strip down before meeting. Undressing piece by piece was a surprise. 

Undressing Room was an intimate experience where the artiste and I had very close interaction. I particularly loved the session where I had the chance to speak to Ming after the performance. I had the chance to ask him what every move meant and it added more meaning to the performance. For example, I asked about the glancing at the start of the performance. I found that was most intense and awkward. His explanation from the performer’s perspective was that it was meant to get him comfortable with the participant and ready for the act. The intent was also to have me feel that he was mentally undressing me, to become mentally naked. I felt vulnerable because I couldn’t run away and had nothing to shield me. In the Undressing Room, there was not only the physical nakedness but also the stripping away of the mental barriers.

That stuck on me and I felt that the whole act was very well thought through and that segment became a very meaningful one indeed. The mental undressing is more intense than the physical one eventually, despite my initial assumption that the physical undressing was going to be the hardest.

7) Did you feel unsafe or threatened at any point in Undressing Room?
No. It was a very well-thought through and executed performance. Ming took the lead, but was very sure every moment was slow, steady and always looking for my cues for any discomfort.

8) Would you participate in Undressing Room again?
Definitely. It was pleasurable and it was a nice time with Ming. 

9) Other comments.
None