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This Room is an Island is a performative narrative that draws historical memories from two generations of Taiwanese women living on separate islands. The performance historicises Taiwanese colonial history and pushes realities of colonisation, war, and police-state control to the forefront. This Room is an Island proposes to remember what came before through carefully curated space, movement vocabularies, technologies, visual influences in relation to the precarious Taiwanese subjectivity. Departing from historic accounts and familial memories, the performance is a personal reflection of the reality many experience in today's world - the tragedies of war, displacement, migrant uprootedness, hegemonic power, cultural alienation, discrimination, systematic oppression under authoritative regime, and police-state control from the perspective of a migrant guest in Aotearoa.

Through a diasporic lens, the process of migration calls into question essentialist notions of home, homeland and nationalism.




As a Taiwan-born diasporic migrant living in Aotearoa New Zealand, I feel a sense of precariousness within my position in this world. Being separated from my family and home as a result of the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis in 1996, I feel both a responsibility and guilt for living the freedom which was built on their sacrifice. It has compelled me to probe my politically charged and complicated cultural dilemma: the debatable and precarious Taiwanese migrant subjectivity.

This precariousness is further intensified by the experience of being caught in-between the growing geopolitical tensions between China, Taiwan, and the United States. Whilst also witnessing the machinations of power and tyranny under authoritarian regimes, governmental oppression, and the genocides and wars unfolding before our eyes in places like Palestine, Tibet, East Turkestan, South Sudan, Armenia, Ukraine, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Yemen, Ethiopia, Syria, and Afghanistan – not to mention the 2019 Hong Kong protests, the 2022 Philippines' War on Drugs, or the wider recent political unrests in Iran, Belarus, and Chile and many, many more around the globe which this production fails to contain, understand, or comprehend.In light of such pervasive global unrest, I am immensely grateful to be able to create a show that focuses on the memories of my island - Taiwan -  and its ongoing pursuit for self-determination and freedom.

With a heavy heart and hope still for the future, I carry the fear and love of generations before me. This Room is an Island marks a starting point. A place of departure. From the discourse around Taiwanese and migrant identity, I dance within and against my colonial history and diasporic curiosities. I hope for This Room is an Island to be a place for reflection, grievance, and gratitude. 

Thank you Aotearoa for the relationships, the opportunities, and the refuge which you provided for me to remember, to shoulder what has been lost, and to step forward into what lies ahead. Thank you to my team for building this island with me. I am beyond privileged to know each and every one of you, to share with you my humble stories of Taiwan. Thank you to the audience for being brave and open to feeling the immense pain, loss, and uncomfortable realities lived by so many in our world. Thank you for your gift of time, presence, and willingness. 

As my Baba told me at the age of thirteen at Taoyuan airport, "You will be just fine".

- Yin-Chi Lee 2024

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