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Transhumanism explores the magical powers of our bodies

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Photo from DOCA
Magician Zhou Ruixiang, right, uses his magic eye to burn a hole through paper.


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Photo from DOCA
The burn hole on the paper gets bigger.

By Ariston Ramos

Last year’s Taipei Arts Festival featured the magic show “Transhumanism: A Preview (新人類計劃:預告會).” Magician Zhou Ruixiang (周瑞祥), show director Chen Yudian (陳煜典), and cross-category artist Wang Gang (王磑) impressed audiences with their performances.

This year, the Festival invited the trio again to display their sleight-of-hand talents in “Transhumanism: A Fair” (新人類計劃:園遊會). Everyone’s invited to see this amalgamated show from August 15 to 21 in the Guangfu Theater of Zhongshan Hall, Taipei City. Seventeen performances will combine magic, drama and video to express how our physical and psychological perceptions are ultimately the starting point of our relationship with the world around us.

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Photo by LRM
Zhou bites off a piece of the glass he used to drink wine.

Transhumanism is a three-year plan that seeks to express the untapped potential of the human body and thereby demonstrate that while all performance is usually a false interpretation of the truth, it likewise embodies a good measure of veracity.
 
In 2019, Zhou, Chen, and Wang portrayed the blueprint of this project in “Tranhumanism: A Trailer.” That year, they also performed what they called “Transhumanism: Case No. 1” during the Nuit Blanche Taipei Festival. In April this year, they performed “Transhumanism: Post-trailer” on video. The team of three sought to demonstrate how our physical powers could be brought to a level higher than what we are used to.

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Photo by LRM
As he spoke, Zhou continued to chew the glass piece in his mouth.

This time, “Transhumanism: A Fair” will display 8 powers that lie deep in our bodies: Materialistic Eye (唯物之眼), Spiritual Eye (唯心之眼), The Ascetic (苦行僧), Skills, Chakras, Physical Skills, Natural Powers, and Thunder Gate. They will show that fire injects the energy that reinvigorates humankind.

Zhou Ruixiang, 29 years old this year, has more than 14 years’ experience in magic. He has performed live, on television and video. In recent years, he has used magic as a tool to reach some understanding of the meaning of life. In 2016, he formed a cooperative agreement with Chen Yudian and Wang Gang. Chen is a member of the production team for Kongkong Wave, a group of installation artists. He has created and directed the creation of installation art. Wang Gang’s cross-category creations include painting, sculpture, video art, photography, and graphic design.
 

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Photo by LRM
Magician Zhou Ruixiang, center, show director Chen Yudian, left, and cross-category artist Wang Gang formed a cooperative agreement in 2016.

Transhumanism is their joint project meant to give the audience a different kind of theatrical experience. “We combine drama and magic performances to deconstruct the traditional image our audiences have of theater,” said Chen.

 

“Through magic, we also try to present the thin line that separates imagination and reality, human emotions and reason,” he said, “hoping to help us know ourselves more especially through a discovery of the hidden powers of our bodies.”