Opening Performance – Melody Chua


“When she died, I thought I saw her everywhere.”

The phenomenon of phantom pain is when an individual experiences pain to a limb or an organ that is not physically part of the individual’s body, but perhaps once was and was removed—or was never even there in the first place.

In a radical empathy–turned hallucination, afterdust//afterglow makes allusions to the coping rituals we create around phantom pain, mourning, and death—the literal and the metaphorical, the overlooked witherings that occur within and between us and those right in front of us. Bright, blinding eulogies amidst unwavering resilience. It is the obsession of revisiting a memory in an attempt to find more life inside of it—even as we distort the memory with each access, and these distortions become our truths. 

How to escape? How to implode?
How to subvert? How to explode?

No answers
only the dust of residual kindness,
and the alternate universes
that hold us together.



Concept/sound/visual composition/performance by STUDIO ZYKLOS (Melody Chua, Chi Him Chik, Aiii, AIYA) 

TRIGGER WARNING: Flashing lights

Internal Supervisors and External Advisors: Matthias Ziegler (ZHdK), Jörn Peter Hiekel (ZHdK), Anne La Berge.


STUDIO ZYKLOS (Melody Chua, Chi Him Chik // AIYA, Aiii) is an ensemble and lab comprising of two humans and two improvisation machines. ZYKLOS' practice of working with sonic improvisation machines reflects on the relationships that arise and become destabilised in human-machine constellations. On the one hand, this context views the machines as extensions of the human mind-body, but crucially on the other hand, it intentionally adopts a resistance against treating the non-human in the colonialistic sense of imposing our identities and control over them. Instead, the practice of improvising with machines is that of creating “resistance machines” that challenges our human identities and languages. Through this practice, we form new sensitivities, ways of relating, and ways of knowing beyond the anthropologic gaze. In the context of improvisation, our primary working method, this implies a confrontation and continual negotiation with uncertainties—a more-than-human dialogue of understanding that takes the form of music-making, translation, and movement across different bodies, both visible and invisible.


Melo(dy) Chua is a transdisciplinary artist running after resonances and empathic sensitivities. Originally trained as a flutist, she finds flow in improvisation, embedding electronics into performances and interactive installation settings that facilitate dialogues across mediums.  She views her work with programming improvisation machines as an artistic practice in asking, “How do our machines reflect our Jungian shadows? How can we give form to the invisible and voices to the ‘othered’? What can machines, as integrated parts of our collective consciousness, help us understand the delicate borderlands where we are not only sovereign entities but also vulnerable extensions of each other? How can we learn to take care of our resonances?” 

Currently a doctoral candidate at the Zürich University of the Arts and Kunsuniversität Graz, Melo’s artistic research focuses on the development of a visual framework for improvisation machines, working specifically with a machine she has created (AIYA) that connects with a sensor-augmented flute (Chaosflöte). Through this, she investigates how different visual representations of these machines can impact human-machine interaction, posthuman identity, and narrative in a performance setting. 

Awarded a Fulbright-Swiss Government Excellence grant for the development of the Chaosflöte, Melo has performed and exhibited around the world, including the Zürich Design Biennale, New Interfaces for Music Expression (NIME) Conference, ZKM Next Generation Festival, Performing Media Festival, Network Music Festival, RADIUS Center for Contemporary Art and Ecology, Swiss Digital Day, and the Immerse: Creative City Project, among others. As a conscious educator, Chua has given lectures and workshops on electroacoustic music, improvisation, and interactive music programming at institutions such as the University of Chicago, Zurich University of the Arts, University of the Arts Bern, University of Music and Performing Arts Stuttgart, University of Central Florida, and the University of South Florida, among others.


Multi-disciplinary and media artist/performer Chi Him Chik draws inspirations from reflections on conflicts, dilemma, and pain from personal experiences as well as social and political events, including movements in his hometown Hong Kong and the ongoing threats and concerns on human rights and freedom from China, while creating works through the combination of media, from audio to visuals, generative to compositional, fixed media to interactive art, in, but not limited to, a performative sense.

Referencing from the artistic languages of the New York downtown scene and Japan noise music scene in the last century, as well as the careers and works of the corresponding artists including Merzbow, Keiji Haino, Nam June Paik, and Fred Frith (who he studied closely with in Basel in 2018 to 2020), Chi Him oscillates and morphs between practices and identities - from musician, composer, performer, improvisor, concert curator, to programmer, improvisation machine designer, noise artist, conceptual and installation artist, and so on - combines skills, abilities, knowledges, and aesthetics from different artistic fields, explores and expands the in-betweenness, and ultimately transforms his spectrum of artistic languages into experiences which one might find strong, overwhelming, surreal, but unique. Chaos becomes his color, and hoarse becomes his voice.