2024

Cinematic Taiwan
A Performance in the Church

2024

Cinematic Taiwan
A Performance in the Church
Aug 24
Studio Theatre
4:30 PM - 6 PM

About the Program

A Performance in the Church is a documentary on the disciplines of contemporary art, sound art, and archaeology. Through the intersection of the three, the film presents a journey across different times and places.

Between 2018 and 2020, a team of archaeologists uncovered the complete foundations and burials of Todos los Santos Church on Heping Island off northern Taiwan. This important discovery witnessed the maritime exploration and colonisation of Taiwan. Archaeologists focus on minute details in order to imagine a time and space that we’ve never experienced. Conceptualizing from this observation at the archaeological site, the director created a cross-disciplinary musical performance, attempting to generate sounds once more in the place that had been silently dormant for hundreds of years.

During the process of planning and creating this sound performance, the director also filmed the archaeologists’ excavation work, from cutting into the slabs to brushing away earth and stones; the artefacts, burials, and the foundations of the church slowly discovered one after another. Over the three years of capturing behind-the-scenes activities, the director gradually shaped his own creative path following the clues of archaeological finds. Setting off from the archaeological site, extending to the seas of Asia; from the 1642 Dutch-Spanish conflict on Heping Island, to the 1643 Cambodian-Dutch War in Cambodia, and then to the 1641 Governor’s Office built in Malacca of the Malay Peninsula. All the imagery and historical texts collected along the path amalgamated with the archaeological material fragments within this film.

Chia-Wei Hsu
Director

Chia-Wei Hsu was born in Taichung, Taiwan, in 1983. He lives and works in Taipei, Taiwan. A graduate of Le Fresnoy National Studio for Contemporary Arts in France, Hsu’s work as an artist, filmmaker, and curator merges the languages of film and contemporary art to unearth the complex mechanisms behind the production of images. Through his artistic practice, Hsu weaves connections between humans, materials, and places that have been overlooked or omitted in conventional historical narratives. He has participated in the Asia Pacific Triennial and Aichi Triennale, as well as other biennials around the world, including Shanghai, Busan, and Sydney. He has also held solo exhibitions at the Liang Gallery, the Museum of NTUE, Mori Art Museum (Japan), and the Hong-gah Museum. He co-curated the 2019 Asian Art Biennial with Singaporean artist Ho Tzu Nyen.

From the Curating Team

Through the universal languages of dance and music, TAIWANfest explores intercultural connections in flamenco dance, Chinese-language music, and more.

About the Program

A Performance in the Church is a documentary on the disciplines of contemporary art, sound art, and archaeology. Through the intersection of the three, the film presents a journey across different times and places.

Between 2018 and 2020, a team of archaeologists uncovered the complete foundations and burials of Todos los Santos Church on Heping Island off northern Taiwan. This important discovery witnessed the maritime exploration and colonisation of Taiwan. Archaeologists focus on minute details in order to imagine a time and space that we’ve never experienced. Conceptualizing from this observation at the archaeological site, the director created a cross-disciplinary musical performance, attempting to generate sounds once more in the place that had been silently dormant for hundreds of years.

During the process of planning and creating this sound performance, the director also filmed the archaeologists’ excavation work, from cutting into the slabs to brushing away earth and stones; the artefacts, burials, and the foundations of the church slowly discovered one after another. Over the three years of capturing behind-the-scenes activities, the director gradually shaped his own creative path following the clues of archaeological finds. Setting off from the archaeological site, extending to the seas of Asia; from the 1642 Dutch-Spanish conflict on Heping Island, to the 1643 Cambodian-Dutch War in Cambodia, and then to the 1641 Governor’s Office built in Malacca of the Malay Peninsula. All the imagery and historical texts collected along the path amalgamated with the archaeological material fragments within this film.

Chia-Wei Hsu
Director

Chia-Wei Hsu was born in Taichung, Taiwan, in 1983. He lives and works in Taipei, Taiwan. A graduate of Le Fresnoy National Studio for Contemporary Arts in France, Hsu’s work as an artist, filmmaker, and curator merges the languages of film and contemporary art to unearth the complex mechanisms behind the production of images. Through his artistic practice, Hsu weaves connections between humans, materials, and places that have been overlooked or omitted in conventional historical narratives. He has participated in the Asia Pacific Triennial and Aichi Triennale, as well as other biennials around the world, including Shanghai, Busan, and Sydney. He has also held solo exhibitions at the Liang Gallery, the Museum of NTUE, Mori Art Museum (Japan), and the Hong-gah Museum. He co-curated the 2019 Asian Art Biennial with Singaporean artist Ho Tzu Nyen.

From the Curating Team

Through the universal languages of dance and music, TAIWANfest explores intercultural connections in flamenco dance, Chinese-language music, and more.

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TAIWANfest Toronto is grateful to be held on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of many nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples, that is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. We acknowledge our privilege to be gathered here, and commit to work with and be respectful to the Indigenous peoples of this land while we engage in meaningful conversations of culture and reconciliation.

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