Please join Indonesian-American artists zavé martohardjono and Andrew Suseno for an open studio exploration of three finger salute, a performance that is in development. We invite Southeast Asian community, as well as local activist-artists of all ethnicities, and students interested in political performance to join.
zavé and Andrew will share in-progress material, improvisational dance and political theater exercises, and information about the protest movements that three finger salute is inspired by. No prior dance or theater experience is needed.
This open studio is a way for community not only to learn about zavé and Andrew’s work but to share their perspectives as a way of supporting the early creative development of three finger salute.
About three finger salute
three finger salute is a new dance work to premiere in New York City in July 2023. This work is inspired by protest gestures such as the three finger salute seen in 2021 anti-military political resistance in Myanmar and in 2014 Thai protests. Among many things, the salute symbolizes Southeast Asian solidarity. The performance draws from other non-verbal protest gesture like Hong Kong protesters’ sign language used to distribute supplies and resources.
Using protest gestures, co-choreographers zavé martohardjono and Andrew Suseno are developing a choreographic lexicon or code for three finger salute. Non-verbal dance will tell stories of resistance from Southeast Asian political movements including in Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand. The work considers the power and resiliency of non-verbal gestures developed by Southeast Asian people fighting for liberation amidst surveillance, right wing extremism and anti-protest crackdowns. To honor the political context of Myanmar, zavé and Andrew’s research includes interviewing Kachin-American, Burmese, and Rohingya activists about current organizing in Myanmar.
Co-created by Austronesian and Southeast Asian artists who live and grew up in North America, three finger salute considers current political suppression the artists are witnessing in the U.S. including the mass arrests and incarceration of Black Lives Matter protest organizers since the 2020 uprisings for George Floyd. The work draws on the artist’s personal family history. three finger salute remembers zavé’s fiercely independent Burmese great aunt, Oma Daisy, who passed away in 2021 as protests in Myanmar were erupting.
Working with non-verbal gestures and choreographic scores, the artists will transmit the dance lexicon to workshop participants in open studio sessions and eventually to audiences in performances. Developing, transmitting, and communicating through dance and gesture pays homage to protest culture, resilience technologies, and community organizing in Southeast Asia.
About the artists
zavé martohardjono (they/them) is an interdisciplinary artist who is trans, queer, gender non-conforming, and mixed-race Indonesian-American. Working across performance, dance, installation, video, and poetry with dreams of a more just future, they make work that contends with the political histories our bodies carry. zavé’s work is concerned with whether and how embodied healing, anti-colonial storytelling, and political education can de-condition the body, reconjure liberatory memory, and untangle entrenched assimilation.
Andrew Suseno is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, a Somatic Movement Educator, dance artist and creator of Moving Rasa. Andrew’s work has reached communities of color across the age and ability spectrum and carves out a space for others to engage in somatics and improvisation in a POC centered way.