Creative Common Ground

This ember state

Fragility: An Exploration of Polyrhythms


Who Owns the Water? 

Creative Common Ground; Catalyzing Artistic Encounters in Contemporary Art and Performance is a new Asia Society initiative to commission, produce and present artistic works of differing scales. The initiative seeks to bring together contemporary boundary-crossing Asian and Asian American artists to explore the confluences of art as it cuts across genres. The Creative Common Ground initiative will deepen our capacity to nurture a more holistic, cohesive programmatic expansion and exploration in new directions in the arts. By breaking the silos of genre and geography, we aim to create the space needed to find the voices of a new generation of artists.  

Through Creative Common Ground Asia Society will expand on the practice of contemporary performance and art, with its increasing emphasis on hybridity, following the lead of artists themselves. Within the current cultural ecosystem, performing arts centers and museums are evolving and becoming more multidisciplinary. This allows artists to explore a range of approaches and mediums in the creation of new work, from time-based or durational performance, to participatory events that breach the borders between artist and public to multiple platform events that occur physically and in the virtual dimension.  

The Creative Common Ground Advisory Committee is comprised of Boon Hui Tan, Vice President of Global Arts & Cultural Programs and Director of Asia Society Museum, Asia Society; Rachel Cooper, Director of Global Performing Arts and Cultural Initiatives, Asia Society; Michelle Yun, Senior Curator, Modern and Contemporary Art, Asia Society; Kristy Edmunds, Executive and Artistic Director, Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA; Tim Griffin, Executive Director and Chief Curator, The Kitchen; Emil Kang, Executive and Artistic Director, Carolina Performing Arts at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Restu Kusumaningram, Founder and Artistic Director, Bumi Purnati Indonesia; and Ong Keng Sen, Director, TheatreWorks, Singapore. 

The projects commissioned by the Creative Common Ground initiative are:
Led by vocal artist and composer Samita Sinha
This ember state performance created in collaboration with Cenk Ergün and Dean Moss premiered at Asia Society on April 14-16, 19, 21-22, 2018

Anonymous Light performance created in collaboration with Grey McMurray premiered at National Sawdust on July 17, 2019

Led by percussionist and composer Susie Ibarra
Fragility: An Exploration of Polyrhythms created with a group of collaborators premiered at Asia Society on June 8-9, 2018

Fragility: A Game of Polyrhythms created in collaboration with the DreamTime ensemble premiered on Governors Island on July 13, 2019

Led by performance artist Melati Suryodarmo
IF WE WERE XYZ performance created in collaboration with vocalist/composer Jessika Kenney and technologist Antonius Oki Wiriadjaja premiered at Asia Society on October 17 and 18, 2019

Video work by Melati Suryodarmo in process.

Led by artist Vibha Galhotra
Who Owns the Water?, a dinner gathering, in collaboration with chef Divya Alter and other collaborators at Asia Society on November 4, 2019

Video work by Vibha Galhotra in process.

Commissioner: Boon Hui Tan, Project manager: Rachel Cooper, Project coordinator: Sarah McCaffery 
For more information, contact 

Creative Common Ground is supported in part by a three-year grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Commissioned Works

This ember state deconstructs Indian classical music through the pussy, inspired by the myth of the self-immolating Hindu goddess Sati and the idea of dark matter.
Composer and vocal artist Samita Sinha and guitarist and singer Grey Mcmurray repurpose khayaal, a form of North Indian classical singing, to sculpt a meditative, transformative sonic experience for voice and guitar.
Fragility: An Exploration of Polyrhythms is an immersive performance featuring an ensemble of musicians and dancers in live experimentation.
Drummer and composer Susie Ibarra draws on Asian and jazz percussive traditions to present a dynamic musical ‘game piece’ which invites the audience to conduct the DreamTime ensemble through rhythms and musical motifs.
Drawing upon Javanese mysticism and a self-devised sleep laboratory, renowned performance artist Melati Suryodarmo premieres a durational performance work that explores the power and consequences of dreams.
A long-term artistic project questioning issues centering around water and its interlinkages with ecology, economy, politics, and behaviors.