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In Session: Radical Heritage: PostAsia in Performance and Media
1: Decolonizing Disappearing Places through Moving Bodies: Transnational Festivals, Inter-Asia Collaborations, and Indigeneity in Taiwan
Wednesday, March 24, 2021
12:00pm – 1:30pm EDT
Taipei National University of the Arts, Taiwan (Republic of China)
In 2019, Disappearing Island by Taipei based Formosa Circus Art (FOCA) with Filipino sculptor/visual artist Leeroy New premiered as part of the 20th Taipei Arts Festival, while Body Map in the Tainan Park: 100 Days Strolling by the local Scarecrow Contemporary Dance Company, with guest choreographer Shu-yi Chou, was chosen as part of the 8th Tainan Arts Festival.
Disappearing Island was performed in Taipei’s marginalized neighborhood of Shezi Island, a flood prone peninsular located at the confluence of two rivers, where FOCA is based. While 100 Days Strolling was created specifically for the centennial Tainan Park—completed in 1917 during the Japanese Occupation Period. Part live performance and part dance film installation, this production engaged the public to relate to the memory of this historic place.
I analyze both works in regards to the politics of transnational arts festivals, inter-Asia collaboration, colonialism, indigeneity, and place. Both productions engage with Taiwan’s relationship with its neighbors north and south, not only looking toward the future, but also the past. I unravel the complex threads behind the creations and illustrate how bodily experiences of moving bodies can stir up pride in the local places and a regained sense of indigeneity.