Art Project

Othello

Chen, Fei-hao (陳飛豪)

<Tokyo Biennale 2020 SOCIAL DIVE Artist-in-Residence Projects>

Chen, Fei-hao recently started research on Taiwanese theatre during the Japanese colonial period, where the play “Othello” gained a wide audience. Originally a classic Shakespeare work, it was adapted by Otojirō Kawakami, who was also the key person in the development of Japanese modern theatre. In Kawakami’s adaptation, he invited Suiin Emi to translate and rewrite, the setting was changed to the Meiji period of Japan, in which even Taiwan, the Empire’s first colony, was included.

Kawakami’s script has two characteristic meanings in contemporary Taiwan. First, Shakespeare’s classic work still has a deep impact on the academic system in Asia as a symbol of the modernization of theatre. Secondly, the political connotations surrounding the rise of the Empire of Japan and the gaze of regime in Kawakami’s adaptation remain prevalent. Stemming from this research, Chen is also curious about the ideas and discussions that arise between people involved in contemporary theatre in Taiwan based on Kawakami’s “Othello”.

In order to discover the historical meaning of Kawakami’s “Othello”, Chen will attempt at reconstructing and discussing the imperial connotations behind the script. This project will culminate in a dramalogue and play reading (performance of a play by a group of readers) in Taiwan, which openly invites members of theatre to actively read and closely examine Kawakami’s version. Finally, the footage of this gathering will serve as material for the video installation in the final exhibition.

(As of March 2020)

1: “‘Taniichi Army Captain, Minoru Takada’, ‘Ryokichi Kamura, Asujiro Fujisawa’, ‘Battlefield inspection actor, Otojiro Kawakami’, ‘Actor, Chyamuna’” 1894, The Tsuboichi Memorial Theatre Museum
2: “Othello” 1903, The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum
3: “Othello” 2020, snapshot of two channel video

Artist

Chen, Fei-hao (陳飛豪) (Artist, Journalist)

Chen, Fei-hao, born in 1985, Hsinchu, Taiwan, is an insightful writer who utilizes conceptual photography and moving images to interpret various issues associated with history and culture, as well as social changes. He also combines images with installations, videos, and literature to probe into the possibilities of the convergence of different media. He participated as an artist in events and exhibitions including 2016 Taipei Biennale, 2017 “Jodori Khiang-Community Artfest” at Taipei Artist Village, “Yao-Chi City: Taiwan Paranormal Literature and Contemporary Art Exhibition”at Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab, and “Shattered Sanctity” at the Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei and Taiwan Air Force Innovation Base (TAF).

Photo by Chen, Fei-hao (陳飛豪)

Art Project