Select Page

Undressing Room

← Previous

Next →

Participant 18: Anonymous
(Completed on 28th March 2017, Singapore)

1) Why do you choose to be anonymous in this documentation?
More out of the fact that I don’t think very highly of my opinion. If I get quoted or anything, they’ll be able to put a face to the quote. 

2) What were your thoughts and feelings when you first read about Undressing Room?
I didn’t even get to read about the work. I heard about the performance as a passing comment and immediately booked my ticket. I thought it was a fascinating concept. It’s a sort of performance I’ve never experienced before and I was intrigued by the intimacy of the performance. I was also curious about what I was going to experience.

3) Describe your experience of Undressing Room.
Chatting with the assistant was really chill. She gave me really clear instructions about what to expect inside. Then she led me to the room and I was greeted by Ming Poon the performer. I blurted out a hello and then remember that I wasn’t suppose to be speaking. And then he led me to a table and we just sat there for a while, looking at each other. At this point, I was reminded of Marina Abramovic’s “The Artist Is Present”. I was a little nervous and I just reminded myself to breathe and be in the moment. Then we had some tea together. The tea did relax me a little more. 

And then the Ming proceeded to take my shoes off. And I was thinking things, like “I should have worn a shoes that’s easier to take off”, “maybe I should help him take off my shoes” but I just sat there and let it happen. Ming went on the mat and stood there. Something told me to get off my chair and stand on the mat with him. I wondered if it was my turn to take off something of his but I just stood there without moving. Then he proceeded to take my socks off. I did the same for him. 

For the whole of the undressing, I repeated whichever article he took off me, except for my bra. After he took off my bra, he stood behind me, and I could hear his breathing. I thought, wow I did need the time before I would actually turn around. When I turned around, we both had only our underwear on. I figured it was my turn to take off an article, so I took off his underwear. Then he took mine off. Now the both of us were naked and just looked into each other’s eyes for a while. 

When I was naked, I started to feel a little chilly and I also felt really small. I thought about his scars and scab back when I removed his pants and bent down to see it. He moved to the side and I suddenly judged my own action. Maybe he thought I was gonna stare at his genitals. For a moment, I felt really embarrassed. But then I continued with the observation of his scars and scab. He then sat down beside me and laid down on my laps. I noticed another long scar line on his head and I touched it. I think scars are very beautiful. Callouses, scars, bunions are all beautiful to me. And then we had a hug and he bowed and left. I was a little overwhelmed when I put my clothes back on. Almost as if I was awfully lonely or abandoned. So I went outside to breathe, then went back inside for the de-brief session with Ming.

4) What was it like for you, being a participant in Undressing Room?
I went through a whole roller coaster of emotions. I think it’s one thing to shed clothing. But there are other things in there that I need to shed too. But in general the overall experience was really beautiful, intimate and vulnerable.

These were the thoughts/questions I had:
– We come into this world naked, how have the naked body become such an uncomfortable thing?
– What we wear on our bodies is all a performance. Yet shedding the clothing in the room doesn’t mean we’re completely our uncensored self, but we do get closer.
– I remembered a dream I had the night before where I was lying butt naked face down and I couldn’t move. And people were just walking past me.
– What is the artist trying to convey to me, the audience?
– Be present, be present and just go with the flow.
– There was a flow of water down the pipes and I thought that was a really beautiful sound.

5) How was it for you to undress each other and touch each other’s naked skin?

6) What did you get out from the whole experience?
For me, Undressing Room is a special space where pure communication and connection take place between two bodies as they are. Untainted by language, barriers (clothing) and external distractions. For some reason, I had the impression that the room would be darker. However it was bright and light.

7) Did you feel unsafe or threatened at any point in Undressing Room?
No. The intent of the artist was very clear to begin with. I was in control at any point with what was going to happen to me. I could pause it or even stop it if I wanted to.

8) Would you participate in Undressing Room again?
Yes. Now that I’ve experienced it once, I wanted to see what the “choreography” between me and Ming would be like again. How my body will change after I got past the initial awkward stage.

9) Other comments.
Post performance, I spoke to somebody about my experience, and this person, who is a devout Christian, said that in the bible, naked bodies are beautiful. It’s sin that made everyone ashamed. And I thought about how bodies are portrayed in our society and thought, yeah, its all been portrayed for the wrong reasons, with the wrong intentions. I’m not religious but I thought that sentiment was really interesting.