Thursday, March 29th, 2018...11:57 pmAnnalee

Yoko Tawada Multi-Cultural Performance

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Sitting in ATS waiting for Yoko Tawada to be introduced, I’ll admit that I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had heard that it was a multicultural performance, but I wasn’t sure what this entailed. After Tawada had been introduced, I found myself wondering what exactly she was doing with the string, but I was also intrigued. I’ll admit that the only language I can somewhat get by in, besides English, is French, so it was a bit confusing to hear Tawada speak mainly in German and Japanese because I couldn’t understand anything she was saying. When Bettina Brandt begin translating Tawada’s poems into English, I found myself longing to know what Tawada was saying in German and Japanese respectively rather than having to wait for a translation. Without knowing it, I was serving as an example to her theory that languages are not only a form of communication and how sometimes it is comforting to use numerous languages to depict something. I wished to be able to suddenly understand German and Japanese, but alas I just waited for the translations. I wanted to know the historic ties that each language brought into the conversation, but I didn’t.

I liked all the odd bits that Tawada included in her performance. I really liked how she wrote one of her poems on the inside of a yellow umbrella because I personally would never think of doing this and found that it added to her quirky personality. When she came to visit class, I personally found her to be a little intimidating as this super accomplished writer sat in front of me willing to answer my questions, but who was I to ask questions on her incredible work? However, I got a very different vibe from her during the performance as her quirky side began to shine through and she began to show more of her personality, making her seem less intimidating.

1 Comment

  •   Professor Seiler
    April 3rd, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    Annalee, it’s intriguing to me that you were more intimidated by YT in the close-knit space of our classroom than in the more formal space of ATS/performance. Is it that you felt more able to “hide” (so to speak) at the performance?

    What do you make of all those “odd bits” of her performance when you step back and look at them altogether?

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