Journey between the Chinese Traditional and Contemporary Arts

Journey between the Chinese Traditional and Contemporary Arts

Presenter:Danny Yung, Artistic Director of Zuni Icosahedron
Date:Wednesday, March 29,  2017
Time:12 – 1:20 pm
Location:Michigan Room, Michigan League

“Placing traditional performing arts in a museum is not the best way to preserve them, unless the definitions and roles of museums and similar cultural organizations are given a complete makeover. Traditional performing arts are living arts, which can only be preserved and fully developed through the creativity of their practitioners. This is the true form of transmission. What we need are dialectical cultural organizations, which must have an all-encompassing cultural view and a strong sense of mission.”

I started, in the 1990s, noticing and thinking about the relationship between an organization’s culture and cultural development, the relationship between a cultural organization and its cultural mission, and of course, the relationship between cultural dissemination and hereditary culture. In the past two decades since, I have started dialogues with individual xiqu (Chinese traditional theater/opera) performing artists, exploring how to disseminate and develop traditional performing arts, to return life to a living art, and to renew our understanding of the source and direction of indigenous culture; we also explored how the indigenous cultural establishment moulds and recognizes cultural development without self-consciousness, while recognizing at the same time, the inherent limitation of monoculture in cultural dissemination. Given the premise that without exchange there can be no development, we are all seeking to establish a foundation and a method for cultural exchange and creation. Real dissemination takes place upon a foundation of wisdom and knowledge, but more importantly, it must allow one generation to connect, communicate, and interact with the next, so as to provide it with cultural nourishment. Furthermore, real dissemination must start with a critique of the system for disseminating culture.**

** Note – That was originally written as ‘Director’s Notes’ of the programme ‘Meeting of the Gods – Experimenting Traditions Festival 2005’

About the speaker:

Mr. Danny Yung is a pioneer of experimental performance, video, and installation art in the Sinophone region, and Artistic Director of Zuni Icosahedron – Hong Kong’s leading arts collective. Yung is the Hong Kong Arts Development Awards Artist of the Year 2015, a Fukuoka Prize Laureate (2014), the recipient of the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (2009), and of the UNESCO Music Theatre NOW Award (2008).