wow. so it’s the end of another academic year (almost)
as the academic year ends, i’m trying to keep up with all of the end of term work but also think about the coming summer. this year, something on the horizon is an upcoming residence at the cepo art center in fongbin township. it’s an art center in an old police station just above gangkou village beside the siugulan river. during the summer, i will be at cepo and sometimes in ‘atolan writing but also engaged in a large-scale soundscape documentation project, in which i will document soundscapes of the siugulan river, a work that i consider research on “mediating spaces”–spaces that come to mediate relationships among groups but also through their role as conduits also mediate history. it will be an addition to my ongoing work on the ethics of locality, but the first time i will be trying something quite so large and systematic in sound. so it’s a cool step
of course, it might require me to develop yet another domain name and website. well, maybe not–it could be a subheading of taiwan soundscapes or live here, i suppose
this past semester, i’ve also been further pulled into a kind of ironic experience around teaching. trying not to blame my students, i really wonder: what is the role of a teacher if students no longer read and if they are constantly distracted? on the one hand, i’m too committed to academic life to leave the university. and yet, i’m not sure that anything i know of how to teach or what it means to teach still applies. ok, maybe i am blaming my students–or at least the surrounding culture and probably their intellectually lazy parents and high school teachers. the entire society, really. how are we to intervene, if we still think that the life of the mind is valuable?
perhaps it’s best to set these questions aside to move forward as i think of the summer
over break, i visited virginia for the first time since my parents moved to the west coast
renting a car, i drove from dulles to richmond, to williamsburg, to charlottesville, to lexington, to boyce, then back to dulles. virginia is much larger than you think it is when you see it on a map, and moving from tidewater back to the shenandoah valley, i was struck by the different ecologies as i moved upland along the james river, then over afton to charlottesville
it had been a long time since i had been in lexington, where i first studied mandarin Continue reading
just about to roll out the new site…now if i could get the yam.com blog content to migrate over there
i’ve been a bit busy with a number of speaking and performance commitments recently, including the AAS in Asia meetings in Kyoto, a conference on the “labor of animation” at Academia Sinica, and a theater workshop in Laeno, an ‘Amis / Pangcah community near Makota’ay
At some point, i would like to post a sound diary of my trip through the thousand tori at Funishi Inari Taisha–it’s not a Taiwan piece but the sounds of the walk up the mountain appealed to me a great deal; and i ended up recording more than an hour of material. overall, the amazing quality of the walk was the marked contrast between the bustle of crowds close to the main shrine and the quiet as one moved further up the mountain, the sounds of labored breathing as people climbed the stairways up the hill toward the shrines highest up, sounds of water flowing through the mountain landscape, and the sounds of worship. the space was also a remarkably multilingual space, which makes sense considering that this is the most popular tourist attraction in Kyoto (and likely throughout Japan)
The theater workshop was interesting, and is still happening–i have to head back up to Makota’ay sometime tonight or tomorrow; however, it felt a bit distant from the work that I need to do here in ‘Atolan. This summer, filled with many different engagements, has been too busy to get much fieldwork done. Still, writing two papers and making a soundpiece for an exhibition is not bad for a couple months work!
Keep posted for more thoughts on the theater workshop and the sound diary of Inari Taisha