"Raus aus dem Elfenbeinturm!"

Projekte in angewandter Musikethnologie mit der indigenen Gruppe Tao (Taiwan)


  • Wei-Ya Lin




Taiwan, Nationale Minderheit, Tanztheater, Konzert <Veranstaltung>, Politik


The Tao are one of sixteen recognized indigenous groups in Taiwan who live on Ponso no Tao, which literally means "the island of human-beings". Since the 1950s, many policies by the Taiwanese government have aimed to support "development" and "modernization" of ethnic minorities. As a consequence the Tao veered away from their traditional religion and cultural practices, for example by using the economic and monetary system imposed by Taiwan since 1967, and in 1971 the island was opened for tourism. These lifestyle changes resulted in a loss of traditional vocal music as well as the knowledge of history, views of life and taboos which had traditionally been transmitted through song. In 1980, an "intermediate deposit" for weak radioactive waste was established on the island through close cooperation and fraudulent practices between the Taiwan Power Company and the government. In 2009, radioactive substances were found outside of the dumpsite on Orchid Island. This article evaluates the social and political implications of two applied ethnomusicological projects developed together with the indigenous group of the Tao. These are the concert project "SoundScape - Island of Human Beings" (2014), which brought together Austrian, Taiwanese and Tao performers and composers, and the dance theatre production Maataw - The Floating lsland (2016) developed in collaboration with the Formosan Aboriginal Song and Dance Troupe (FASDT). Both projects are based on the author's dissertation "Music in the Life ofthe Tao: Tradition and innovation" (2015). These projects posed questions such as: how can anthropological and ethnomusicological approaches and methods be applied during the creative processes of composition and choreography in order to interpret the Taos ecological and political issues on the stage? What insights can be gained from the practice-based collaboration and discussions, during and after the performances? And how do these artistic projects reflect back on and potentially change current political and social situations?






Angewandte Musikethnologie