三宅一生在《三宅一生：爲設計而生》（Issey Miyake： Design for Feel）的紀錄片中解説：「布料和身體之間的空間創造了服裝。」
Ah-hock said, “When I’m gone, you may do with all my clothes and things as you please, anything save the Issey Miyake ones. Those you may not give away, cut, or burn down.”
He loved Issey Miyake’s designs for their architectural quality. He never found his own body beautiful enough, so he sought to buy structure. In the documentary Issey Miyake: Design for Feel, Issey Miyake explained, “The space between the cloth and the body creates clothes.”
「IX，意思是開始與結束, 這名字是亞福為我改的，Alpha and Omega to Hock，他說我是他的開始和結束。」IX覺得穿上一件衣服就像一段愛情關係，想像嬰兒本來一絲不掛，從抗拒到適應束縛，最後愛上被包裹著的感覺⋯⋯現在回望21年的戀愛和雙人舞的旅程，衣服原來是一個很重要的元素，見證著二人的創作進化。
“IX means beginning and end. It is the name Ah-hock gave me, the Alpha and Omega to Hock. He said I was his beginning and his end.” IX felt that wearing clothes is like being in a love relationship. Think how a baby is bare at first, he resists constraints, gets used to them, and finally falls in love with the feeling of being wrapped around… Looking back now on their love and duo dance journey of 21 years, clothes turned out to be a very important element, bearing witness to the evolution of the two’s creative endeavours.
“I never buy clothes, so all the clothes were Ah-hock’s purchases, for he loved buying clothes, while I enjoyed being styled more; As dancers, we love to look good, and we love dance forms that were created out of the limited space between clothes and bodies even more”
“If you want the freedom, you have to be framed. You’re framed, it’s how free you work within the frame creatively, that is freedom.” Such is IX’s philosophy of freedom.
“We both love cheongsam, and are especially obsessed with how in In the Mood for Love, that extremely tight moving space between the body and the close-fitting cheongsam shapes the body language, and the tease and tension that it evokes.”
Having spent too much on clothes, they tried to find tailors to make clothes, but realised later that it is not easy at all for the tailors to make dance costumes to the effect that they have in mind. Thus, IX began working on the clothes himself, starting from around 2004. Ah-hock would also buy high quality designer clothes for IX to study and work on. As his work became more and more sophisticated, his interest in making clothes for others slowly developed.
“I can create what I have in mind, I can create as I imagine how a movement assimilates into a space,” said IX.
“We have agreed quite early on that when we pass away, we will not have funerals. We will organise a happy, jolly party. So I went back to where we met – Hong Kong. 3 days before his birthday, I held a party and invited some good friends over to pay tribute to his life through music and dance.”
“He passed away at eleven past eleven, and November 11 is also our anniversary day, so I choreographed 11 Tribute to Loving for him. I invited 7 artist friends to remove from me and put on themselves white shirts with stitched images of the 7 chakras one by one, to symbolise their exchange with me one after another and the purging of grief.”
The mother of one of the artists just so happened to have passed away a few days prior. During the dance, she took to the movement of wiping the floor to reminisce about her mother, who once worked as a maid, and the imagery of her insisting on doing the cleaning herself even after attaining wealth and status later. Guests in attendance might not have understood, but these interactions were like a heartfelt conversation.
IX planned to perform this dance repeatedly over forty nine months, as a soul summoning ritual to let Ah-hock take residence in his body. In one solo performance in Venice, IX, while spinning, put on two shirts buttoned up together – the shirts belong to him and Ah-hock. He held a paper box and took out the other 5 white shirts from the box, all hand-sewn with 1:1 squares in running stitch by IX himself, with 7 colours of threads symbolising 7 layers of emotions. He took them out, put them on, took in the grief and joy, embraced himself, and at last, took them off, as he put the negative emotions back into the box to be sealed.
Director Tsang Tsui-shan’s collaboration with Ah-hock started from a commissioned project at first, from 2017 before he fell sick, to IX’s deportation by the Singapore government for AIDS, returning to his homeland Malaysia, Ah-hock’s diagnosis in 2018, his passing away in 2019, and lastly, Ward 11, which documented their love story, and the addition of the VR creation Chroma 11, which places viewers within the moving images of IX and Ah-hock’s memories through its immersive narrative. The tangible images may even feel as though they pass through the viewers’ bodies, keeping the two’s forbidden and unconditional love, in dreams as in reality, always together yet forever apart.
The director said, “Life is changing constantly as I document it. I think clothes could perhaps represent memories, they are very ceremonial.”