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Our Top 5 ‘Die-Die Must Do’ Things At Borak Arts Series Next Month
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Our Top 5 ‘Die-Die Must Do’ Things At Borak Arts Series Next Month

by Deric EctJuly 15, 2015

Borak Arts Series 2015 is coming guys! If you’re beginning to wonder why we’re so goddamn excited over some art conference happening in Penang, let us present to you some facts.

Borak Arts began in 2013 as an initiative by My Performing Arts Agency (MyPAA) to bring together all sectors involved in the arts for two days of discussions and networking. It’s a fairly business-like affair, but like all endeavours which involve arts and culture, expect it to be speckled with a good amount of colour and vibrancy.


You’ll be seeing some of these faces again in Penang next month!

The Daily Seni wants you to be there and participate if you’re in the creative industry, and we’re going to make our point by means of a list. Listicals are all the rage at present and we’re proud to say we’ve gone over to the dark side.

In any case, we present to you five ‘die-die must do’ things at this year’s Borak Arts Series!

1. There’s something called Pitchpad ASEAN and it’s quite exciting indeed.

Up to ten ASEAN performing arts professionals will have the opportunity to pitch their work to a stellar line up of festival directors and venue programmers – the best from Australia and Asia – in the presence of all delegates at Borak Arts for one chance to make an impression.

Welcome to Pitchpad ASEAN, where each applicant will have seven minutes to pitch their work and follow it up with a three minute question and answer session to make the best impression they can, in the hopes of securing additional project support, representation, touring opportunities, performance engagements, international exposure, premiere locations, and whatever else they can get.


These are some of the people who will be there to listen to your pitches.

MyPAA’s very own Izan Satrina says it best, so we’ll let her take to the stand.

“Where in ASEAN will you have the opportunity to present your ideas to some of the most prominent festival directors and venue programmers in Australia and Asia? Many of them, especially those from Australia, have a huge appetite for Asian works, and best of all, there are funds allocated to incubate or import works from abroad,” she explains.

Ever watched Dragon’s Den? Yeah, kinda like that, but ASEAN, and with festival directors evaluating your project in the presence of 170 industry professionals. And that’s not all, because one of the ten pitches on show will be selected to perform at George Town Festival next year!

If all that doesn’t make your heart skip a beat, nothing will. Even if you’re not participating, bring in some snacks and a cold drink and watch the sessions because it all sounds like one massively exciting reality show, except that it’s all happening live, baby.

And if you’re interested in being one of the 10, take note: applications are open till July 30!

2. Discover art from all around the region.

All the names we’re going to drop throughout this post? Be they artists, consultants or art entrepeneurs, everyone at Borak Arts is responsible for making the world a better place through their involvement with the arts.

For example, award-winning contemporary Thai dancer and choreographer Pichet Klunchun will be joining as a panel speaker next month.

His remarkable work is demonstrated here in this video clip – a collaboration with Jerome Bel that explores the “cultural chasm which separates them from each other and at the same time connects them” for contemporary dance festival ImPulsTanz back in 2013.

Rithisal Kang, Executive Director of Amrita Performing Arts, Cambodia, will also be present sharing the current contemporary arts landscape in Cambodia and the various collaboration opportunities it presents.

Here is one of their works entitled Khméropedies III. This was performed at the Guggenheim Museum. It’s based on a study of monkeys and there was even a scientific advisor on board to make sure the performers accurately capture the movement, attitudes, calls and motivations of monkeys.

And Malaysia’s very own pride and joy Dr. Joseph Gonzales will be moderating one of the key panel discussions next month! He is one of our very own leading dance practitioners and educators, and here he is showcasing his work in a trailer for ASWARA from 2007.

We featured Joseph back in April for his thoughts on local arts education, but how many of you know that he was even interviewed live on Korean television?

3. Get in on the action happening at the Round Table Sessions.

For those who’ve attended Borak Arts in previous years, you’ll be back for the same reason.

Ever been speed-dating? Imagine that, but in groups, and with investors and avenues for funding instead of potential soulmates. That’s right, so much better.

As an added bonus, the Borak Arts page lets you see all your dates for the session. Here they are, summarized:

You’ll have 90 minutes to hop between tables at the Round Table Sessions!

Founders Izan Satrina and Brian Johnson Lowe will be hosting this event and each round table session lasts for 20 minutes, but be assured that this will be a great opportunity to find out everything you need to know about particular funds or collaborations with partners.

It’s a fairly breezy (but still somewhat intense) affair; you’ll need to use your 20 minutes wisely and compete with everyone else sharing your table in getting your questions answered, so we suggest doing some preparation before you go there. Then it’s off to the next table; get onto whichever piques your interest.

4. Kate Ben Tovim is coming! Quick, set an appointment!

Who is Kate Ben Tovim?

First of all, she’s the creative associate for the Asian Performing Arts Program at the Melbourne Arts Center.

This is the Melbourne Arts Center.


This is what we wished the Daily Seni offices looked like.

We don’t know about you, but we think you have to be quite special if you want to work in a building like that.

Kate is a strong advocate for art which connects to culture and heritage, and she’s spent many years of her life as a producer, programmer and cross-cultural innovator. In fact, she’s done a number of projects with the Asia-Pacific region, producing major works in India, China, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and the UK.

No Malaysia just yet, but we hope her arrival in Penang is set to change that.

Here is a useful, quick interview by AsiaLink that helps us understand the scope of Kate Ben Tovim’s work.

She’s also Creative Director of the soon-to-be launched Turning World, a boutique cultural agency specialising in artist-led Asian engagement. This is your time to shine, local practitioners! Score a few minutes with Kate and turn her world upside down with your brilliant Malaysian ideas.

And while you’re at it, make sure to say hello to Bandung Creative City Forum chairman Fiki Satari as well as Teresa Rances, Director of the Asian Cultural Council – all latest additions to the Borak Arts party.

Which brings us to our next point…

5. Network, network, network!

We cannot stress how important networking is once you’re at Borak Arts in August.

There will be some notable people from all over the world in attendance trying to make the creative industry a better place and it’s best if you do not miss out on making an impression.

Don’t just stick to the corner with a drink and blend in with the St. Giles Wembley decor like the wallflower you really are off-stage – get in there and make yourself noticed. Speaking at the event (and mingling with the public for the rest of the conference) are people who can help you realize your full potential as an artist.


You can also look at it all as just one big party full of creative people.

From Malaysia alone we have Grace Chin of Viddsee, Joe Sidek of George Town Festival, Pauline Fan of PUSAKA, as well as our beloved local human rights activist and arts consultant Pang Khee Teik.

Also impressive are the international line-up: there’s Emmanuel Benbihy, who began the Cities of Love franchise; there’s Joseph Mitchell from the Adelaide Festival Center who also serves as Festival Director at the OzAsia Festival; there’s Andrew Ross, artistic director of the Darwin Festival – the list goes on and we advise that you check their official site for more details.

Oh, and bear in mind that these are just the speakers who will be in attendance; we haven’t even gone on to the delegates list yet.

Borak Arts Series 2015 will be held from 29-30 August at the St. Giles Wembley Penang, 183, Jalan Magazine, Penang. Day passes are priced at RM80, or get the two-day pass for RM150. Passes provide admission to all events as well as tea breaks of a particular day. Register for the event, or follow MyPAA on Facebook and visit their official website for more details on past and upcoming Borak Arts Series.

About The Author
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Deric Ect
Deric is contributor and former managing editor of The Daily Seni.

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