Dancers of the Millions
Workshop, multi-media installation
Parasophia: Kyoto International Festival of Contemporary Culture, Kyoto, Japan
Music While We Work (2011) and Dancers of the Millions (2015–) are part of a series of projects I have been developing since 2010, revolving around and beyond the history of sugar in a small town named Huwei in central Taiwan. Huwei is my hometown. It was nicknamed as the “Capital of Sugar” during the Japanese colonial ruling (1895-1945) of Taiwan. Yet, the history of sugar, however, does no't solely belong to Huwei.

Home is a difficult place to grasp. So, what does it mean to become critically acquainted with the history of one’s home? And, what does it mean to connect with the historical experiences of others that might not be seemingly be incomprehensible to us? The Brazilian philosopher and educator Paulo Freire once put forward that a rigorous understanding of the process of knowing is a social process. The aforementioned projects draw upon this proposition and seek ways to possibly enable that social process.

With its beginnings as a research project, Dancers of the Millions, in turn, departs from a transcribed conversation between a group of sugarcane planters and community organizers in 2013. The conversation was co-organized with the Huwei-based ethnography group Natural Life Studio.

Through intensive archival research and performative workshops, the project examines the construction and (im)possibility of transposition of memories interlacing those willing and unwilling social actors who remain apart by time and space in the making of the history of sugar.


Special thanks to Hosei Univeristy, Tokyo and Ozaki Tetsuya