Hong Kong Exile had a great time guest lecturing this afternoon at SFU for Ben Unterman's IAT 206 MEDIA ACROSS CULTURES class about race, language, and cultural politics.
Here's some of what Natalie said about her practice:
We live in a world that remains deeply colonized and wrought with overt and covert racism. It is imbedded in pop culture, in politics, in the media, in the comments of our Facebook feed, in how we use language, in our food production, in our education, in our assumptions about the people sitting beside us on the bus and in this room. The institutions, apparatuses, and aesthetic traditions of the arts are no different. It took me a long time to realize that what I studied throughout my four/five years of the dance program at SFU, was mostly white contemporary dance, and that the dance history and art theory I learned was white history and theory. Because of this, my practice as an artist post-graduation has largely been a practice, rather, a slow attempt at decolonizing my mind, body, and training— and asking, how can the context of performance subvert or dismantle the present paradigm? As an artist, I have the privilege of being given a public space to be heard and seen. With this space, it matters to me that I am NOT blindly re-affirming hegemonic Western-centric hierarchical traditions of dance and instead offer or make space for other narratives, other possibilities.
As both an artist and a human, it is important to me to be critical of who's voices are being given platforms to be heard, and who's aren't. And despite my personal and professional commitment to these questions, issues of tokenism, cultural appropriation, self-exotification, and privilege are ever looming….so the work is really never done...
Many thanks to Ben Unterman for having us!