Masking “Chineseness”

February 11, 2022 | Posted By: | Academic Research |

The Performance Works of Xie Rong 谢蓉 (Echo Morgan)

By Freda Fiala

As part of the conference series on “Women and Masks” at Boston University, I am glad to present my long-term research on performance artist Xie Rong 谢蓉 (Echo Morgan) for the first time.

The performances of Xie Rong 谢蓉 (Echo Morgan) engage with Masks and Maskings as strategies of a strong contemporary female artistic expression. Born in Chengdu in 1983, Xie Rong’s studies have taken her to the UK, where she currently lives and works. Looking at Chinese culture from a diasporic perspective, her performances focus mainly on her family history in relation to the political history of modern China. She uses both physical Masks as well as various strategies of Masking her skin, which highlight the body both as a place for the projection of transcultural phantasy and as a site of power struggle. Contextualising the case study of Xie Rong, the presentation takes a conceptual approach, to understand her artistic engagement with Masks and Maskings as a ‘method’ of corporeal investigation and as ambitious intercultural articulation.

Freda Fiala is a writer working across the contexts of performance art, new media dramaturgy and interculturalism, through researching and curating. She is a fellow of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and currently pursues a PhD on contemporary performance practices in East Asia. She studied Theater and Chinese Studies in Vienna, Berlin, Hong Kong and Taipei. Her research interests mainly include cultural diversity, cross-cultural exchange and ‘actionable speculations’ in the age of digitalisation.