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Undressing Room

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Participant 16: Anonymous
(Completed on 7th February 2017, Singapore)

1) Why do you choose to be anonymous in this documentation?
This performance still has not won mass social acceptance yet. While I acknowledge the importance of raising awareness in order to effect change, I am concerned that my identity released would cause my family, friends and work organisation to be embarrassed by association. Association with a person who has participated in a sensitive performance featuring nudity.

2) What were your thoughts and feelings when you first read about Undressing Room?
I first read about it in the Straits Times and I thought that it was quite a bold performance and somewhat surprised that it could be performed in Singapore (I didn’t know then that permission had not been given by IMDA* yet). I forgot about it for the rest of the day and only remembered it the next day when reading the Straits Times again in the morning. I then went online to buy a ticket.

I thought it would be very interesting to experience being undressed by and undressing another as a deliberate and intentional act. I confess that mutual undressing is not new to me, but they were situations where undressing is the intuitive and ‘over in five seconds’ part of an encounter. I thus thought that this performance in emphasising the undressing and subverting what is usually the norm in an encounter rather unique. 

Being comfortable in skin is also not new to me as I have visited numerous naturist beaches and resorts in Europe and Asia. So I was curious as to what this performance could offer as a chance to express nudity in a non-sexual atmosphere. 

*IMDA: Infocomm Media Development Authority

3) Describe your experience of Undressing Room.
It was a rather peaceful and serene experience. Perhaps it was the no talking and the slow-paced nature of the work. Quite a refreshing change of pace from the hectic day.

4) What was it like for you, being a participant in Undressing Room?
Interesting. I’ve never experienced such intimacy in the context of an artistic performance. It was therefore novel. The lack of verbal communication made me more conscious of non-verbal cues, which I was somewhat distracted in trying to read. The slow pace of the performance also left me somewhat disoriented as to the passage of time. The most challenging part was trying to read Ming’s expressions. Given the sensitive nature of the work, I didn’t want to do anything which might make the other party uncomfortable.

5) How was it for you to undress each other and touch each other’s naked skin?
It felt more ordinary than I had expected. Perhaps because there were ground rules for the performance, they were constantly on the forefront of my mind throughout the performance. I felt liberated from the dreary of the day when being undressed.

There was arousal on both parts. We just ignored it and proceeded with the performance adhering to the performance guidelines and ground rules.

6) What did you get out from the whole experience?
The experience of undressing another person and being undressed in an orderly and very deliberate way, and touching in a non-sexual setting. I had set no expectations for the performance, deciding to attend with an open mind to be surprised. In the end, what stayed with me is the serenity of the whole performance. For me, Undressing Room is a safe space to be liberated from the dreariness of the world for a while.

7) Did you feel unsafe or threatened at any point in Undressing Room?
No. Not at all. It was rather peaceful and orderly. Perhaps because of the expectations set from the ground rules.

8) Would you participate in Undressing Room again?
Yes. It was comforting and liberating.

9) Other comments.
None