ONE OF THE criticisms of audiences in Hong Kong is that we aren't good at letting our hair down. Unless it's a Christmas panto for the kids, interactive shows are more likely to leave us murmuring in embarrassment than whooping it up. So, although local theatre producer Taurus Wah Man-wai admits that audiences aren't known for their informality, he is ambitiously asking them to lose their inhibitions and take part in his new show, Formless. Fortunately, the founder of Open Daily independent production house says it won't be the kind of humiliating affair in which you find yourself pulled up on stage and forced to fumble through lines with actors or waltz around with dancers. The show, which revolves around two video installations, represents a departure from the sort of live entertainment audiences may be used to. 'Usually in a performing arts production the director or choreographer is in the front line and they throw ideas to the collaborators,' says Wah, a former dancer and manager of City Contemporary Dance Company. 'In Formless, it's totally different. The video artists' ideas come first, then there's collaboration from the dancers, and then the composer. They aren't serving the director - it's the other way round.' The free-flowing style that characterises Formless comes from Wah's study of 1920s philosopher George Bataille. The Frenchman suggested that people should move away from defining and labelling things in order to free their thoughts and interpretation. The concept of informe was embraced by Expressionist artists, and Wah sees it as key to the unrestricted nature of Formless. At times, the production will focus exclusively on video installations by local multimedia innovators Jamsen Law and Wong Chi-fai, before morphing into a more classic production that showcases the talent of Japanese dancers Taiju Matsumoto and Mao Arata, performing to music by local experimental composer Veronica Lee. The Exhibition Hall in City Hall was deliberately chosen to stage the performance. 'We're really pleased to have the show [there] because it has no seats, so the audience will be forced to move around,' says Law. 'It also means that the video projections will be right in front of you, not far away on a stage, so you'll quickly feel that you're involved in the show.' Law's work Involuntary Machine is depicted on a pair of three by 10-metre wide video screens that will be the first thing the audience sees. Following his trademark style of using collage to compose the images, Law's piece illustrates his belief that in everyday life we move, act and behave in a number of involuntary ways. 'I'm always interested in using video to present something that's not easy to represent,' he says. 'I'm looking at the fact that we sometimes behave like a kind of automaton and we can't really give a reason why.' Law's installation is teamed with movement from dancer and fine art graduate Matsumoto. Law and Matsumoto first worked on the project in Tokyo last summer, but - in what may be seen as bordering on too much freedom of expression - Law admits that the choreography (and the final music) will only be resolved once Matsumoto arrives in Hong Kong a week before the show. 'I really don't know what he's got planned,' Law says laughing. 'He has given me a lot of suggestions, but I find it hard to visualise them, so I told him to devise a lot of short pieces, so we can rearrange them when we get together.' Once audiences have seen Law's installation and Matsumoto's performance, the show moves on to Wong's spherical video installation, Tranquil, which wraps the audience in a constantly morphing image, enabling them to walk through, around and inside it. Adding to its soothing nature will be Lee's specially commissioned ambient electronic music. 'I'm trying to create a space so calm it will make the audience feel like meditating,' Wong says. 'It's a computer-generated abstract image, but it's constantly changing, so when you look at it, it's as if it's a living thing, and once you start watching it, it's hard to look away.' The accompanying choreography will be written and performed by Arata, to whom Wong says he is giving '100 per cent freedom'. Although Arata is not a dancer by training, she is a member of the well-respected avant-garde Japanese contemporary dance group, Pappa Tarahumara. The company combines movement with grand theatrics, Asian and western influences and vocals in a style rarely seen in modern dance companies. The company and Arata's dancing caught Wah's attention because of the difference in attitude between some Hong Kong dancers and their Pappa Tarahumara counterparts. Wah - who has collaborated with Timmy Yip on the performance In Search of Eileen Chang, which finished last week, and and British choreographer Robert Tannion on this year's popular physical theatre production Fetish: Stories - says that some local dancers treat their performances as a job rather than a creative experience. 'Many of the company aren't trained in classical or modern dance,' he says of Pappa Tarahumara. 'They come from a variety of backgrounds, including martial arts. In Arata's case, she graduated from university in gymnastics. As a result, they seem to have much more energy and creativity than other dancers.' Wah admits that Formless is a departure from the usual style of productions in Hong Kong, but he hopes its unconventional approach catches on. In fact, he's banking on it because he already plans similar works for next year, when he hopes video, installation and fine artists will find themselves collaborating with musicians, composers and dancers to bring new styles of performance to Hong Kong. Formless will be performed at the Exhibition Hall of the Hong Kong City Hall on December 11 and 12 at 8pm; December 13 and 14 at 3pm and 8pm; and December 15 at 8pm. Tickets $120 from Urbtix. The exhibition is on December 12 and 15, 10am-7pm; December 13 and 14, 10am-2pm and 5pm-7pm. Free. Inquiries: 2268 7323.