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Tianzhuo Chen & Siko Setyanto


“Baleo! Baleo!” When this call is heard on the coast of Lamalera, the fishermen have spotted a whale. At the same time, this expression implies more, as it also means that with the appearance of the whale, the ancestors show themselves and offer a present, as a blessing from God. The ocean has opened up and offers its gifts. It is a call that challenges fate and has existed for centuries, in struggle, worship and redemption. 


Rooted in the intricate yet affective narration in Lamalera village in Indonesia, Ocean Cage encompasses the entanglement among the whale, the fisherman and the ancestor. In the interspecies encounter with the sperm whale, the interrelationships of a complex ecosystem and the basis of solidary economic coexistence manifest themselves as well as a spiritual source and connection with the ancestors, interwoven like the links of a chain where a beginning and an end can no longer be determined. Audiences are invited to immerse themselves into the tender, still, afflicted ideological rift, to breathe and dissolve into the porous and leaking bodies of water, mammals, fisherfolk, ballads, breezes and spirits, reconsidering the interdependent relationships across species and how we can (re)understand the more-than-human justice. 


In the immersive setting created by Tianzhuo Chen, Ocean Cage combines elements of installation, film and dance to create the space for the performance, in which Siko Setyanto becomes the central protagonist in changing characters. Together with the Indonesian musicians Kadapat and Nova Ruth, a visual, dance and musical maelstrom is created in which tradition and ecology, spiritually and technology, beliefs in progress and interspecies symbiosis are whirled together.



Director: Tianzhuo Chen

Choreography & Performance: Siko Setyanto

Music: Kadapat, Nova Ruth

Costume: Chenting Yu

Make-Up: Una Ryu

Textile Design: Diane Esnault

Lighting Design: Raquel Rosildete

Sound Design: Martin Ortiz

Technical Director: Francisca Marques

Technical Production: Paul Mede

Assistant & Stage Management: Diane Esnault

Production and Management: partner in crime

Ocean Cage is a production of partner in crime and Tianzhuo Chen. 

In coproduction with HAU – Hebbel am Ufer, Arsenic Lausanne, Kyoto Experiment, Kampnagel Hamburg and tanzhaus NRW.

Funded by the Capital Culture Fund Berlin

With the kind support of of theaterhaus berlin / Trauma Bar Und Kino



OCEAN CAGE – Full film (54 minutes)


OCEAN CAGE – Performance captures 



Picture by Camille Blake