Hong-Kai Wang’s interdisciplinary practice concerns the politics of missing knowledge and of narrative building of radical histories. Through workshop, performance, video, sound work, etc., her work consistently investigates modes of listening that generate poetics while seeking to forge unlikely affiliations beyond perceived chronologies and geographies.
Wang’s multimedia installation, The Band of the Awful Ones, is the culmination of three workshops in collaboration with six performers and all the workshop participant. At each workshop, participants work together to dismantle the legal text of “Bandit Punishment Ordinance” enforced in the Japanese colonial era from 1898 to 1915. In response to the violence inherent in the law, they read for the silences between the words, thereby evoking and speculating about the lost sounds and the voices of the dead, disappeared, dispossessed and resistant, while performers quietly listen and take notes. At the end of each workshop, the performers work with what they have heard to create a short improvised performance.
How do we mourn the kind of loss for which stories cannot be told and that which no memory can retrieve? Is it possible that the irrecoverable may have the potential for creating conditions that enable renewed political agency? By opening an inquiry into the politics of mourning at the intersection of history, memory and law, The Band of the Awful Ones attempts to call forth the spaces of forgetting and the bodies of the forgotten. These bodies were more than what was expected of them, and we want to summon the ways in which they organized, conspired, and invented. In the hope of conceiving some ways forward, perhaps we could begin by listening with ears from the future.
Performing artists: Alice Hui-Sheng CHANG, CHEN Shang-Yun, CHEN Siao-Chi, Leon LEE, TSENG Chih-Cheng, WU Fu-Ping
Three pre-performance workshops for The Band of the Awful Ones are held at Guling Street Avant-Garde Theater on August 25, 26, and 27, 2016. （logo）