A landmark live cinema performance project exploring the relationship between identity, ritual and place across the landscape of Malaysia commissioned by the British Council


SuperEverything* is a live cinema performance project that explores identity, ritual and place in relation to Malaysia’s past, present and future. It was created in collaboration with a group of Malaysian artists and was commissioned by the British Council in 2011. This project has toured extensively to various film, arts and music festivals and venues internationally.

It is a fusion of music, field recordings, filmmaking and real-time moving image that weaves a series of universal narratives together into a single story about tradition and modernity, globalisation and development, race and nationality identity, to consumer culture and belief.

The project explores these universal themes using a combination of documentary film, motion graphics, creative technology, and an ambitious music collaboration. These elements come together to create a poetic audio-visual tapestry that transports its audiences into a rich, kaleidoscopic journey across the cultural landscape of Malaysia.

The project was created on location across Peninsular Malaysia and brings together a collection of Malaysia’s cutting-edge musical and visual artists to co-create a new live cinema work.

Super Everything* surveys our human condition to reveal what unites and divides us. It is a kaleidoscope of stories, sounds, images and smells are woven together live on stage. A truly immersive, cross disciplinary performative artwork that reflects on how our complex identities are formed through rituals and their relationship with our rapidly evolving environments.

SuperEverything* poses many questions about how people form a sense of identity in a world increasingly dominated by information networks and fast-changing social and economic landscapes. It challenges us to contemplate our shared human story, to ask the timeless question of who we are, both as individuals and as a society. Through the juxtaposition of tradition and modernity, the project seeks to uncover how our complex identities are connected to our everyday environments through various rituals.

It is a journey through Malaysia’s past to understand its present and to reveal a shared social history that looks to our future.

The music for SuperEverything* evolved from a unique cultural collaboration initiated by the British Council that allowed us to collaborate with a collection of visual and musical talents from Malaysia to create a new live cinema performance that reflected the rich cultural landscape of Malaysia, but also transcended that to explore a universal story about identity, ritual and place. 

We began the musical collaborative process with a series of recording sessions with the contemporary gamelan group “Rhythm in Bronze” and the Chinese percussion ensemble “Hands Percussion” in Kuala Lumpur. Fragments and loops from these sessions were combined with field recordings we gathered during our production trips and then distributed across the 9 chapters that made up the show.

These sample sets were then developed by Tim Cowie, Chor Guan Ng and Eu Seng Seto in tandem with the visual production and interwoven narratives which are threaded throughout the performance. These prerecorded elements formed a series of tracks and together created the musical foundation for the first performances, with additional music and audio added live by musician and composer Chor Guan Ng along with players from the Hands Percussion and Rhythm in Bronze ensembles.

Following its sell-out premiere performances in Kuala Lumpur in September 2011, the show continued to develop musically and visually through its international touring.

In 2012 SuperEverything* was performed in India, New Zealand, and Houston Texas in the USA with an amazing response from its audiences. After being awarded a grant for the arts by the Arts Council England in 2013 to support its UK national tour, the project’s music further evolved with newly composed arrangements by Tim Cowie & Ng Chor Guan performed by a trio of string players from the UK’s Heritage Orchestra.

For the next four years the performance continued to tour the world, with shows in Singapore, Australia, New Mexico, California, Colorado and Europe. For each leg of these tours we had silently different lineups of live musicians and over this period its sound and visual components continued to evolve.

We released the music from this project as a physical vinyl record in 2023 on the Utter Label, celebrating the project’s 10th anniversary with a special gallery event and screening in Kula Lumpur. For the music’s release, we decided to strip the soundtrack back to just the musical compositions that underpin the live show.

The deluxe gatefold artwork for this release included a 2 sided poster design and a 24-page booklet, in which we included tonnes of images from the production and touring of the show along with some quotes from the narrative interviewees whose voices are interwoven throughout the performance.

The full-length concert film of the show we performed at the Hackney Empire in 2012, with the support of The Barbican, can now be viewed below:

Project Microsite & social media channels:

Project Microsite: http://www.supereverything.net/

SuperEverything* on Twitter
SuperEverything* on Vimeo
SuperEverything* on Soundcloud
SuperEverything* on Flickr
SuperEverything* on FaceBook

Solid Steel Radio Mix: 

https://soundcloud.com/ninja-tune/solid-steel-radio-show-1-3

The soundtrack from this performance is available on limited vinyl and digital formats via the Utter Label, links to platforms are HERE.

Credits:

Creative Director:Christopher Thomas Allen
Leading Artists:Christopher Thomas Allen & Tim Cowie
Camera: Christopher Thomas Allen, Tim Cowie, Fauzi Yusoff & Fariz Hanapiah
Editing & Post-Production: Christopher Thomas Allen, Tim Cowie, Fauzi Yusoff, Fariz Hanapiah, Jai Rafferty & Helen Omand
Production Assistants:Jake Dowling & Simon Bertheux
Research Assistant:Annie Kwan
Music Direction:Tim Cowie
Collaborating Composers: Tim Cowie, Chor Guan Ng & Eu Seng Seto a.k.a DJ Flica
Musical Contributors:Hands Percussion & Rhythm in Bronze
Sound Engineering:Shugar Studios
Music Producer:Hardesh Singh
Malaysian Producers:Joanna Lee, Adshrie Yap & Didi Ramlan
UK Project Manager:Alice Ceresole
Online Content Manager:Matt Armitage
Publicity & Marketing Officer:Tan Ee Lyn

International Touring:

KL Design Week, Kula Lumpur, Malaysia, september 2011
Unbox Festival, New Delhi, India, February 2012
Edwards Talkies, Mumbai, India, February 2012
We Can Create, Auckland, New Zealand, October 2012
Te Manawa Gallery, Palmerston North, New Zealand, October 2012
Houston Cinema Arts Festival, Houston TX, USA, November 2012
Warick Arts Centre, Coventry, UK, March 2013
Colston Hall, Bristol, UK, March 2013
Studio Theatre, Brighton Dome, UK, March 2013
Sage Music Centre, Gateshead, UK, March 2013
Barbican @ Hackney Empire,  London, April 2013
OzAsia Festival, Adelaide Arts Centre, Adelaide, Australia, September 2013
Lasalle Singapore Airlines Theatre , Lasalle University, Singapore, October 2013
Currents New Media Festival, Lensic Theatre Sante Fe, New Mexcio, USA, June 2014
Live Cinema Festival, Rome, Italy, October 2014
MediaLive Festival, Boulder, Colorado, USA, November 2014
Splice Festival, London, UK, June 2016
Grand Performances, Los Angeles, USA, July 2016
The Old Market Theatre, Brighton, UK, September 2016

Press:

DNA Mumbai
Deccan Chronicle
The Sunday Guardian
Sound Pad
Time Out, KL
Surface Asia
The Independent
Imperica
The Creators Project
Design Week
Hackney Citizen
Free Press Houston
Houston Chronicle
Glasstire
Culture Map Houston
Time Out, London
The Straits Times
Adelaide Now
In Daily Adelaide
Glam Adelaide

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