Back to the Myths. Beyond the Myths.
Inspired by both the dialogue-based format and critical content from r:ead #4, C&G initiated to take up the hosting role for r:ead#5, and proposed to other regions’ participants the theme of “Myth‧History‧Identity” for exploration in June 2017.
All cultures have their own mythical stories from the ancient time, and these stories, to a certain extent, reflect how their ancestors understood and encountered with the world and nature in the past. The study of historical myths helps reveal the development of a culture and its cultural identity. Indeed, mythical stories can also be considered as the combination of history writing and poem writing, involving many creative visuals. Mythical thoughts often consist of strong creativity for imagination and ability to traverse the areas full of unknowns.
Cultures in East Asia had many ancient mythical stories for a long period of time. In fact, there are many interconnections amongst ancient and historical myths from Japan, Korea and China. Systematic study of these stories with a cultural anthropology’s perspective is quite a modern idea though. It did not begin until the late 19th century in this region. During the Meiji Era, Japanese scholars started to have many intensive researches about Japan’s ancient history. Academic research on mythology also started to appear. Influenced by this period’s Japanese literature, Chinese scholar, Liang Qichao (梁啓超), adopted the Japanese term of “myth”(神話) in his Chinese article about the relationship between history and race in 1902. This was the first time when the term of “神話” was used in Chinese language.1
Under the theme of “Myth・History・Identity,” the art dialogues and exchanges in r:ead #5 will not only focus on the literature or linguistic analysis about myth and history writing, but will also make use of related materials to trigger artistic dialogues and inspire creative ideas amongst participants and audience members. Besides interpreting “myths” as ancient stories about gods and/or heroes, participants are also encouraged to come up other possible interpretations, for example, to look at contemporary “myths” in our societies and to create new “myths” for alternative imaginations about the current systems.