Interview: Shaman Tearoom
Luca Curci talks with Shaman Tearoom during THE BODY LANGUAGE 2022, at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
Shaman Tearoom, led by Aiwei Foo and Kent Lee, is a multi-disciplinary art collective that focuses on the integration of contemporary art, tea, sound art and sensory experiences. They are currently based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Shaman Tearoom seeks to blur the boundary of art and life where the roles of the artists and public/participants are equally important in completing the work of art. Presenting conceptual yet pragmatic projects that are relevant to daily life subject matters has always been their artistic inquiry. In 2021, Shaman Tearoom exhibited and performed in the inaugural Singapore Ceramics Now! 2021 as part of Singapore Art Week programmes and also took part as the international collaborator for the London Architecture Festival 2021. Their latest work ‘Buka Buku Art Exhibition’, was another international collaborative project led by artists and curators in Wales and China.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Shaman Tearoom – To us, art is to draw people closer to life.
LC – Do you have any habits or rituals while you work?
Kent – To have a good breakfast.
Aiwei – I used to love listening to music while at work. Music sets a certain tempo and emotion, it serves as a sort of “catalyst” to bring me into the zone. But nowadays, it pretty much depends on the kind of work that I am working on. Sometimes I would prefer to be in solitary and with the absence of music. But for the Shaman Tearoom project, we would prefer to cultivate or bounce ideas over a tea session back in our studio.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
ST – The challenge is almost resemblances to living everyday life. Sometimes you don’t get the optimum outcome for the efforts you have spent but that is okay too because we do have our own set of beliefs on how to live (our art), and the process itself is beautiful and fruitful.
LC – Do you use art to express something in particular? Is it your medium of expression?
ST – Yes. Our project, Shaman Tearoom, is a multi-disciplinary art project focused on the integration of contemporary art, tea, sound art and sensory experiences. We seek to blur the boundary of art and life where the roles of the artists and public/participants are equally important in completing the work of art. Presenting conceptual yet pragmatic projects that are relevant to daily life subject matters has always been our artistic inquiry.
LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this event? How is it connected to the theme of the entire exhibition?
ST – The film presents a series of close-ups. Independently, they examine the liminal relationships between the body, architecture and nature, through touches initiated out of the free will. Weaved as a whole, they express the states of rekindling that relationship. It initiates with anxiety, takes off in a leap of faith, makes discovery and sense, gains intimacy, and gives birth to a reflective capability. It all happens in a quick instant like a thought flickers through the mind. Easily goes unnoticed, yet a significant transformation – from feeling careful to carefree. The symbolism and rhythm of the film occur through the juxtaposition of disparate visuals, spaces and ambient sounds designed to coincide with the scenes’ developments, which are the vital elements of representation and experimentation in this film.
LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP?
ST – It is a supportive platform for the artists, well-organised and resourceful in the art connections.