artists profiles

Zero Zero


Zero Zero is a new work by two of Australia’s foremost physical performers, Tony Yap and Yumi Umiumare, and media and sound artist Matthew Gingold.
Zero Zero explores the liminal spaces between the visible and the invisible. The work charts the choreographic landscape formed at the intersection of physical, cultural, spiritual and technological boundaries.From the immediacy and simplicity of the human body lit by candles and incense, to the use of the latest technology, Zero Zero transports the viewer with its immersive environment and evocative, trance-like physical explorations.

Yap and Umiumare are reconnecting their duo practice after making major solo works apart. Their fifteen-year series ‘How could you even begin to understand?’, was acclaimed in Australia and internationally.

“…butoh and its multifarious manifestations of a body … draws on traditions of the ecstatic body – the closest to a shamanistic trance most of us are likely to see … another masterful work.” – Jonathan Marshall, writing on Yap and Umiumare’s How could you even begin to understand?

Matthew Gingold is a media and sound artist and programmer at the cutting edge of new technologies in performance, recently recognised by a prestigious Prix Ars Electronica Award of Distinction for Interactive Art. In Zero Zero he pushes the bounds of installation combining video, sound and lighting elements.


Creators/dance performers
Tony Yap, Yumi Umiumare

Media, sound,
light performer, dramaturge

Matthew Gingold

Additional design and production realisation
Paula van Beek

Outside Eye
Brendan O’Connor

Kath Papas Productions



Generations: ZeroZero and The Recording
Thanks to ZeroZero, the most recent and arguably the finest collaboration between Tony Yap and Yumi Umiumare to date, generations have been on my mind. Umiumare first came to Melbourne with Butoh company Dai Rakuda Kan in 1991 -- I still can’t get the dead goldfish in the clear heels of their shoes out of my head -- and moved here not long after. So we’ve been watching her for more than 20 years. Ditto Tony Yap, though he first came to prominence in Renato Cuocolo’s theatre company IRAA. I vividly remember his androgynous long-haired Medea in Cuocolo’s ‘Vision of the Void’ adaptation. I reckon that was also 1991. (Yap had been in some short dance works by Lynne Santos in 1989 and 1990 as well.)

Ignoring this history -- this physical ballast -- is difficult. And, perhaps, pointless. These collaborations between Yap and Umiumare utilise time. The history of the bodies involved in the performance is integral to the performance. I’m not sure if that’s a cultural thing, if it’s just specific to these particular bodies, or if it’s just these individual projects.

The paradox is that these bodies -- bodies that I’ve been watching for literally decades -- seem to have defied time. They haven’t thickened or visibly aged whatsoever. They’re amazingly lithe, more muscular and toned than ever. In the unairconditioned lower space at fortyfivedownstairs on a hot February Sunday afternoon, sweat ran down Tony Yap’s back in silvery rivulets. The trails caught the light like glycerine tears on an actor’s face. – Chris Boyd, The Mornng After – REVIEWS



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Next was Tony Yap and Yumi Umiumare’s strong, powerful and incredibly moving Zero Zero. Butoh influenced, it has been developed from Yap and Umiumare’s interest in striving for a ‘zero state’ of total emptiness. It’s also influenced by their mutual interest in the shamanistic dance practices, ritual environments and ancient cultural heritage of their homelands: Japan and Malaysia. It seems to be divided into three sections – a mesmerising, sculptural solo for Yap, who is strong and powerful in it, but also off balance and sometimes like a darting bird; a solo for Umiumare, where she is like a hooked fish on a line, one minute happy, the next dissolving into tears; and a duet for them both. Strange, angular and puppet-like, they never touch. Amazing.Lynne Lancaster reviewing ‘Return to Sender’, Arts Hub


Yumi Umiumare and Tony Yap's ZeroZero is beautiful and involving. Exploring "the liminal spaces between the visible and invisible", the two dancers undertake choreographic journeys that intersect but remain distinct. Set at either end of a linear performance space, they remain separate for much of the work and although they move within a breath of one another at times, they barely touch. – Susan Bendall, Dance Australia


... Matthew Gingold's sound compositions are sparse and otherworldly. ZeroZero excels in moments of simple physical activity, ... Yap and Umiumare are stunning in their individual modes of expression, revelling in ZeroZero's meditative framework.Jordan Beth Vincent, SMH, The Age

ZeroZero takes place in traverse, with the stage delineated by a long white strip between the audience, which is also sometimes used for projections from the ceiling. For most of the dance, Yap and Umiumare are at opposite ends of the strip, forcing the spectators to constantly shift their gaze. It begins with Umiumare contemplating a bowl of water as if she is scrying, and Yap at the other, prone on the floor under a naked light bulb.

What follows is an intensely meditative duet, heightened by Gingold’s percussive score and the low lighting. It moves from the quotidian – Umiumare listens to a clock radio and brushes her teeth, while Yap seems to be asleep, twisting and crying out in turbulent dreams – to an evocation of the sacred.

Both dancers refer to traditional dance and Buddhist spirituality from their personal heritages – Yap from Malaysia, Umiumare from Japan – and integrate this into contemporary movement that explores the ecstatic body in states of trance or physical extremis. In one sequence, Umiumare’s arms and hands move so fast they are a constant blur, as if her body is dissolving before our eyes. Even though they draw close during the dance, even tracing each other’s faces and bodies with their hands, they never touch or meet each other’s eyes. At the end, they lie on the floor with the soles of their feet touching, united at last but also entirely separate and entirely still. Alison Croggon, ABC Arts


Email: tonyyap@netspace.net.au > Ph: +61 412 019 876
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