The Auditory Memories of Southeast Asia
Video creator Chiu Chih-Hua and dancer Cheng Yi-Wen join together to conduct field research on Southeast Asians in Taiwan on the subject of unexploded ordnance in Laos, interpreting the scarred lives of those that have suffered through trauma with sounds, videos, and dancing bodies.
The Vietnam War lasted from 1964 to 1973. During that time, hundreds of millions of bombs were dropped or placed in Laotian territories. To this day, Laos is filled with uncleared landmines and unexploded ordnances that result in high death tolls and injuries each year. The Bombie Protocol, though delayed by the pandemic, is an art festival in Laos that seeks to reawaken public awareness on the brutalities of war and conflict by engaging them in this art project, thereby facilitating discussions, collaborations, and exchanges. Against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, artists Chiu Chih-Hua and Cheng Yi-Wen were originally slated to participate in The Bombie Protocol but decided to shift their focus onto Southeast Asian residents in Taiwan when the festival was delayed. They conducted interviews spotlighting auditory memories to probe for life experiences throughout the war from interviewees. The interview videos became Chiu and Cheng's source materials for choreography and performance; they translated the sounds to further develop the relationship between sounds and bodies in contemporary art. During the sound workshop, performers experienced developments in their body movements and were able to internalize the field research to co-create a body language belonging to Southeast Asians with the artists. At the end of the year, Chiu and Cheng will be hosting a five-day performers' workshop and public performance at the Guling Street Avant-garde Theatre
A video creator, Chiu has devoted himself to dance film creation and has collaborated with sound artists, dancers, and video creators alike since 2014. In recent years, Chiu has been deconstructing and reconstructing elements of videos and theater. He also attempts to find imprints of society, the environment, and religion on peoples or spaces.
Cheng is an independent choreographer, performance & rehearsal instructor, theater action designer, and contact improviser. She is also a guest choreographer at Dance Forum Taipei and lecturer at the Taipei National University of the Arts and the National Taiwan College of Performing Arts.
Zen Yi Production was founded in 2018 by dancer Cheng Yi-Wen. Using performing arts for social intervention, the team focuses on creation, performance, and education to spotlight the needs of different age groups, e.g., infants and senior citizens.