Re-cap: Stan Lai Residency

Stan Lai speaks at UC Berkeley.

The Arts Research Center saw a whirlwind of activity in recent weeks, when Taiwanese playwright/director extraordinaire (and UC Berkeley alum) Stan Lai came to campus as an ARC artist-in-residence and Avenali Resident Fellow January 28 through February 8, 2013.  A photo album capturing some of his activities can now be viewed on the ARC Facebook page.

Lai’s residency kicked off with a public conversation at the Institute of East Asian Studies titled Theatrical Engagement. An online video of Lai’s exchange with the distinguished historian Wen-Hsin Yeh, Director of IEAS, is now available.

Choreographer nunu kong (left) of Shanghai and SanSan Kwan of UC Berkeley at the Temporal Shifts symposium.

Later that same week, Lai spoke at a screening of his film Peach Blossom Land at the Pacific Film Archive, then delivered a keynote address on the future of creativity at ARC’s symposium Temporal Shifts: Time Across Contemporary Chinese and Taiwanese Art Practices.  The artists and scholars at this daylong event captivated the audience with their accounts of cutting-edge practices in sound art, film, dance and performance art, painting and installation, as well as theater.  A recurring theme was the challenges that face innovative artists in the rapidly changing political, economic, and cultural landscapes of China and Taiwan. More photos of the symposium can be seen on the ARC Facebook page and video highlights will be posted soon on the Arts Research Center website.

Professor Xu Weixin discusses his paintings of the Cultural Revolution at the Temporal Shifts symposium.
The following week, Stan Lai participated in one last public program: a conversation with Asian American playwright Philip Kan Gotanda, currently a visiting faculty member in the Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies.  Gotanda invited Lai to reflect on how his cultural identity and personal history–including his time at UC Berkeley–shaped his artistic development.  Video of this event will be posted soon on the Arts Research Center website.
Philip Kan Gotanda and Stan Lai.
In addition to all these events, Lai was a guest speaker in classes on directing and playwriting, and participated in a series of meetings with UC Berkeley faculty, administrators, and alumni to discuss the potential for ongoing artistic exchange between Berkeley, China and Taiwan. Lai is a hugely influential cultural figure in both China and Taiwan, and he is keenly interested in using his influence to benefit the arts in East Asia–and at his alma mater UC Berkeley. Some very exciting partnerships are under consideration–watch this space for further updates!
Stan Lai with (left to right) UC Berkeley faculty members and ARC Affiliates Sophie Volpp, Julia Bryan-Wilson, and Shannon Jackson.
A big thank you goes out to all the partners that made this residency and the associated programs possible: the Townsend Center for the Humanities, the Institute of International Studies, the Center for Chinese Studies, the Richard & Rhoda Goldman Fund, the Institute of East Asian Studies, the Pacific Film Archive, and the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies.