Performances Of Authenticity

Project Details


MArch Part II
2021 - 2022
Gabriel Cooper (Voice)
The Formosan Aborigines observe seven solemn times of the year as festivals with great ceremonies.

‘Formosa’ - Some one hundred miles off the southern central coast of China lies an island. Unlike some other islands, this island can boast no long history of continual and progresive civilisation. Instead, this island has been an enigma throughout the centuries.

Circumnavigate the differences

The story of the indigenous communities of Taiwan, formerly known as Formosa,  was characterised by stories of miscommunication, misconception, andvagueness regarding the credibility of both colonist witnesses and the facts its tenure illustrated. The Formosan Nuclear sorting facility and the George Psalmanazar imaginative worlds celebrate this notion of the novel travel and the novelty travel of the experience - offering a look into the indigenous system of truths elided by the fictitious world in which the colonial rule imposed. That is the account for an interpretation of the ‘otherness’.

The project unveils indigenous truths of the island of Formosa (where foreign nuclear material has persistently been buried) through a series of performative architectures. Reacting to the fake histories presented to the West by George Psalmanazar in the 1740s, the project is intended to loosen the ‘corset of evidence production’ and create new possibilities, and in turn, construct a new dialogue that foregrounds the islanders’ heritage and historical truths.

This one is called ‘korouloutaen’ or the seventh feast, At this time of this feast they adorn their arms and heads with white feathers.

Stagecraft is a statecraft

The film explores how aboriginal performativity navigates architecture, against the backdrop of nuclear waste storage, this film architecture exposes and critiques various forms of cadastral land interpretation.The proposal is a quasi-theatre-nuclear waste facility that behaves as a performative space, one that follows a crafted itinerary named ‘The Solemn Ceremony of Formosan Seven Feasts. A strange world is described that sits between performance, theatre, and a radical and cathartic re-writing of history.

‘I wonder whether history might be seen not as an investigation of reality, but as its origin. Whether Psalmanazar would have agreed. But then, I suppose we can ask him: fictional characters, unlike laudanum addicted impostors, never really die.’

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