blood-run (2016)

Part ritual, part performance art, part colonial history inscribed on the body, blood run investigates my Han Chinese colonizer and Taiwanese plains indigenous heritage within the context of larger political histories. Combining experimental video, movement research, and poetic text, the work asks: “What is the difference between an immigrant and a colonizer?” “How do the colonizer and colonized live inside the same body?” “When does survival require disappearance?” Textually, this solo performance weaves together writing from three sources: writing by Taiwanese indigenous authors; colonial travel-writings from the Qing Dynasty; and my own autobiographical musings. blood run asks what hidden histories are contained in the body, while poignantly acknowledging the impossibility of fully reclaiming what has been lost.

Here are a few glimpses from the performance project:

Excerpt from “Letters to a Lost Aboriginal Ancestor (June 24, 2015)”:

Family is a fist, squeezing tight as water runs and dribbles out, instead of gently cupping the water, holding it. Family is a set of lungs shared between conjoined twins: we cannot breathe without each other. Family is tightly woven silk, the strength of warp and weft: if you cut one thread, the whole thing unravels. But what was family to you? I read Jolan Hsieh’s ethnography of Pingpu people, and it looks a lot like love marriage: noseflutes playing, young men and women dancing at harvest, an easy approach and retreat, following the ebb and flow of one’s desire. Did my Han ancestor slip into one of these dances? Did you feel him beside you and take his hand in yours, smiling? The collision course of history in one simple gesture? Did he move to your family home, working hard as all immigrants do, to make sure his clothes wouldn’t be hung outside the front door, to win your family’s approval? Did you know that he could come or go, that you need only stay together as long as you wished, that divorce and remarriage would be easy and without stigma, that you could come together and drift apart like duckweed floating on the pond’s surface, that you could take for granted, as I never have, the right to choose who to love?



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