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From Chinese local history to another memory : an interview on Folk Memory Project’s workshop with African refugees

Weiwei Sun (UGent)
Author
Organization
Abstract
“Folk Memory Project” is a long-term artistic/social project in China, organized by acclaimed artist Wu Wenguang from 2010. The underlying aim of this project concerns oral personal memories during the Great Chinese Famine of 1959-1961 that erased about 36 million people. Until 2017, over 200 artists/students participated in this project, who went to 190 villages and interviewed more than 1,400 elder villagers. The artistic outcomes include hundreds of text reports, 44 documentary films and 6 dance/theater performances so far. These works are often invited to international film and theatre festivals, art residencies outside of China. This interview would mainly discourse two aspects. One is the special application methods of logos (language and verbal expression) in their performances. Marvin Carlson indicated that one of the performative devices engaging with language is “(re)constructing memory”, which is shown dominantly among the works of this project. Then what are their unique approaches to (re)construct the vanishing miserable memories? How do they interpret the reciprocity between oral memory and Chinese history /politics? The other aspect is about their exploration and adaption in the multicultural and multi-lingual environments. Meerzon and Pewny coined a word“divided self ” to depict the status of migrant artists or artists work in a multicultural context. Although as “local Chinese artists”, the participants of this project are experiencing similar situations. For instance, how to develop the global value of this totally “Chinese issue”? How to overcome the obstacles of cultural misunderstanding in interactions with “foreigners”? How to adjust the political strategies for distinct “target audiences” in the world?
Keywords
socially engaged art, dramaturgy, physical theatre, China, Migration, refugee

Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

Chicago
Sun, Weiwei. 2019. “From Chinese Local History to Another Memory : an Interview on Folk Memory Project’s Workshop with African Refugees.” In Dramaturgy of Migration : Staging Multilingual Encounters in Contemporary Theatre, ed. Yana Meerzon and Katharina Pewny. London: Routledge.
APA
Sun, Weiwei. (2019). From Chinese local history to another memory : an interview on Folk Memory Project’s workshop with African refugees. In Y. Meerzon & K. Pewny (Eds.), Dramaturgy of migration : staging multilingual encounters in contemporary theatre. London: Routledge.
Vancouver
1.
Sun W. From Chinese local history to another memory : an interview on Folk Memory Project’s workshop with African refugees. In: Meerzon Y, Pewny K, editors. Dramaturgy of migration : staging multilingual encounters in contemporary theatre. London: Routledge; 2019.
MLA
Sun, Weiwei. “From Chinese Local History to Another Memory : an Interview on Folk Memory Project’s Workshop with African Refugees.” Dramaturgy of Migration : Staging Multilingual Encounters in Contemporary Theatre. Ed. Yana Meerzon & Katharina Pewny. London: Routledge, 2019. Print.
@incollection{8589202,
  abstract     = { {\textquotedblleft}Folk Memory Project{\textquotedblright} is a long-term artistic/social project in China, organized by acclaimed artist Wu Wenguang from 2010. The underlying aim of this project concerns oral personal memories during the Great Chinese Famine of 1959-1961 that erased about 36 million people. Until 2017, over 200 artists/students participated in this project, who went to 190 villages and interviewed more than 1,400 elder villagers. The artistic outcomes include hundreds of text reports, 44 documentary films and 6 dance/theater performances so far. These works are often invited to international film and theatre festivals, art residencies outside of China.
This interview would mainly discourse two aspects. One is the special application methods of logos (language and verbal expression) in their performances. Marvin Carlson indicated that one of the performative devices engaging with language is {\textquotedblleft}(re)constructing memory{\textquotedblright}, which is shown dominantly among the works of this project. Then what are their unique approaches to (re)construct the vanishing miserable memories? How do they interpret the reciprocity between oral memory and Chinese history /politics? The other aspect is about their exploration and adaption in the multicultural and multi-lingual environments. Meerzon and Pewny coined a word{\textquotedblleft}divided self {\textquotedblright} to depict the status of migrant artists or artists work in a multicultural context. Although as {\textquotedblleft}local Chinese artists{\textquotedblright}, the participants of this project are experiencing similar situations. For instance, how to develop the global value of this totally {\textquotedblleft}Chinese issue{\textquotedblright}? How to overcome the obstacles of cultural misunderstanding in interactions with {\textquotedblleft}foreigners{\textquotedblright}? How to adjust the political strategies for distinct {\textquotedblleft}target audiences{\textquotedblright} in the world?  },
  author       = {Sun, Weiwei},
  booktitle    = {Dramaturgy of migration : staging multilingual encounters in contemporary theatre},
  editor       = { Meerzon, Yana and Pewny, Katharina},
  language     = {eng},
  publisher    = { Routledge},
  title        = {From Chinese local history to another memory : an interview on Folk Memory Project{\textquoteright}s workshop with African refugees},
  year         = {2019},
}