Culture For Sale

In August 2011 performance artist Shigeyuki Kihara travelled to Germany with the support of the Visitor's program from the Goethe-Institut to investigate museum archives held across Germany to research materials related to the German administration of Samoa from 1900 till 1914. The research followed the traces of historical footprints of several groups of Samoans including men, women and small children who travelled and toured extensively across cities in Germany including Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich and Cologne where they were exhibited in a zoo - a practise commonly known as ‘Völkerschau’ a popular form of exotic entertainment and colonial theatre at the time.

The research followed the traces of historical footprints of several groups of Samoans including men, women and small children who travelled and toured extensively across cities in Germany including Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich and Cologne where they were exhibited in a zoo - a practise commonly known as ‘Völkerschau' a popular form of exotic entertainment and colonial theatre at the time.

Conceptually informed by the Samoan participation in the ‘Völkerschauen', ‘Culture for Sale' is the title of the interdisciplinary work which features a live public performance and video installation conceived by Kihara where the live performance featured Samoan dancers who were instructed only to perform briefly when they were paid money by the audience. The video installation also echoed the performance and where the audience were able to pay-per-view the footage of the performance by incerting 20 coin into the coin slot machine placed next to each monitor presented as a 'vending machine'.

‘Culture for Sale' explores the commercialization of Samoan culture in the so called ‘post-colonial' era in the wake of the 50th Anniversary of the Independence of Samoa in June 2012.

The 'Culture for Sale' documentary is commissioned by Campbelltown Arts Centre and 4a Centre for Contemporary Asian Art for Sydney Festival 2012. Directed by Shigeyuki Kihara. Edited by Filmmaker Kirsty MacDonald.

'Culture for Sale' is the third and the final project Shigeyuki Kihara has created for ‘Edge of Elsewhere' - a major 3 year project commissioned by Campbelltown Arts Centre and 4a Centre for Contemporary Asian Art for Sydney Festival 2010/2011/2012.

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