This talk offers a look into the concepts of indigeneity as developed in three contemporary critical theories, especially in the areas where they conflict with each other but can compensate for each other to help understand what the role of the indigenous for our time. Ecologically, when a living organism is indigenous, it is native to a place and its presence originates from natural processes and not human once. Historically, the indigenous, to put it crudely, refers to the peoples who were dispossessed from their land during the modern period and are in the process of revitalizing their cultures and rights through identification. In response to this late twentieth century’s conception of indigeneity, there is recently emerging a philosophical conception of indigeneity that emphasizes the relationship of humans to non-humans and the cosmos. While these conceptions may be in conflict with each other, I will argue, using examples from Taiwanese indigenous contemporary art and from Taoism and broader existing religious traditions of animism that it is possible to work out a congruent concept of indigeneity for contemporary critical thinking on ecology.

About the author

Manray HSU is an independent curator and art critic based in Taipei. His recent exhibitions include “The Sky Is the Limit: 2000 Taipei Biennial" (with Jerome Sans, Taipei Fine Arts Museum); "Wayward Economy" (2004, Taipei); "Naked Life" (2006, MOCA Taipei); Liverpool Biennial in 2006 (with Gerardo Mosquera); 2008 Taipei Biennial (with Vasif Kortun); Forum Biennial of Taiwanese Contemporary Art in 2010 (Taipei Contemporary Art Centre); "The South: an Art of Asking and Listening" (2017, Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts); "Autostrada Biennale: The Future of Borders" (2017, Prizren, Kosovo); “Herbal Urbanism: An artistic project on cosmopolitics” (2018, Hong Gah Museum, Taipei); “When Kacalisian culture meets the vertical city: Greater Sandimen Contemporary Art” (2019, Taiwan Aboriginal Culture Park, Pingtung); "Crossing the Tuniu Ditch - Reactivating Tribal Deities, the Name Rectification of Makatao" (2020, Assembly of Communities: MIX, MOCA Taipei); "Futurist Wave: Contemporary Art from Greater Sandimen" (2020, Pingtung Museum of Art).

Manray’s current interest of research is on contemporary art from Taiwanese indigenous peoples, and on inter-cultural dialogues on the anthropocene.

Conversation with Manray Hsu | Critical Ecologies 2020