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Johannes Kretz:

Wei-Ya Lin:


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Daliah Hindler:

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creative (mis)understandings

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ao.Univ.-Prof. Johannes Kretz

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ao.Univ.-Prof. Johannes Kretz Wei-Ya Lin, PhD
Mag.phil. Daliah Hindler

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May 20th Weltmuseum Wien (the museum of the world Vienna)

May 23rd Magyar Zene Háza (House of Music, Hungary)


Closing presentation in Weltmuseum Wien on May 20, 2022, 4:00-11:00 pm


The Artistic Research Project Creative (Mis)Understandings is based on a collaboration between poet-singers of the indigenous group Tao from Taiwan and composers and sound creators trained in the tradition of European Art Music. The project aims to create strategies which on the one hand contribute to revitalizing Tao cultural practices in a sustainable way, and on the other hand redefine social roles of European, academically trained composers and sound creators.


As part of the „Long Night of Research (Lange Nacht der Forschung)“ we will present – in an extended happening – the encounter of culture and traditional singing of the Tao in performance-exhibition format. This includes performances of traditional Tao song and dance, compositions and improvisations transforming the songs into various contemporary contexts in styles of rock, experimental, European art music etc., complemented by sound and video installations. There will also be time for exchanges, meetings, dialogues with the audience, what may create a platform of sharing and encounters during this event.




4:00 PM PONSO NO TAO Video installation by Wolfgang Liebhart and Chiao-Hua Chang
04:00 Songs of Oblivion Video installation by Hui Ye
04:30 Wild Thing Taiwanese rock band
05:30 Opening speeches  
06:00 Voice of Ocean Traditional chants of the Tao
06:15 ASED (…countercurrents…) Concert installation by Sandeep Bhagwati 
06:45 Transformations - Encounters - Performances Pieces by Tian Fu, Samu Gryllus, Johannes Kretz, Wolfgang Liebhart, Wei-Ya Lin, Chien-Hsiang Lin, Si Pehbowen a.o*
07:15 Voice of Ocean Traditional chants of the Tao
07:45 Transformations - Encounters - Performances Pieces by Tian Fu, Samu Gryllus, Johannes Kretz, Wolfgang Liebhart, Wei-Ya Lin, Chien-Hsiang Lin, Si Pehbowen a.o.
08:15 Wild Thing Taiwanese rock band
09:00 ASED (…countercurrents…) Concert installation by Sandeep Bhagwati 



The music education work focused on the young and youngest Tao generation. For the different age groups, ranging from pre-school children to 15- and 16-year-old youths, numerous confidence-building games were used to get to know each other. Concentration and coordination exercises, some of which were taken from music therapy followed. Dance and theatrical concepts as well as sound painting have been used too. Extensive acoustic, visual and descriptive documentation material is existing of all activities. Some of it is summarised in the short film "Ponso No Tao".


Songs of Oblivion is a work series initiated from research on the unique singing tradition of Tao as well as on a shadowy part of the island’s history established by the post-war Taiwanese government.

By juxtaposing the ancient sonic culture of Tao and narrations of individual aural memory regarding historical details of the former Lanyu farm (1958-1990), the artist aims to explore the complexity of relationship between a certain political event and its long-term impact reflected in the collective memory. 


ASED (...countercurrent...) is based on a traditional song (anood) that Tao singer and indigenous
activist Siamang Vongayan recorded five times at various important locations on his island of Lan Yu.
These video films now appear in unpredictable order on screens in a public space,
in which 5 musicians from different musical traditions react to them. Each* musician has on the one hand
number of instructions that guide the musical interaction with spatial sound, audience behavior and
on the other hand the task to "honor" the singing of Vongayan and to imitate it musically from their own tradition or to
imitating or accompanying Vongayan's singing out of one's own tradition.


Si Pehbowen

Multimedia dance performance


Samu Gryllus

Connected Islands is an Event Piece for any participating community including improvising instrumentalists or other professional performers as well as members of any audience members. The aim of the piece is to create a conscious collective behavior with the help of a set of rules. These form a community in the similar way as a society uses taboos in daily life. The piece operates through simply formulated verbal instructions (in printed or projected form)Some of these instructions are inspired by the vocal ritual practice or other social norms and rules of the Tao community. Participating in the realization of the piece allows the community to reflect on its daily habits or unconsciously learned behavioral routines with the help of some easy and playful rules.


Ten Easy Steps to Meet Difficulties (collective participation

Dialogue research (multimedia performance for dancer and electronics)

Vie aux Lanyu for viola and electronics


Johannes Kretz

Lanyu Songbook: scalable compositions for voices, dancer, erhu, viola, pipa, bass, and electronics

 A lecture performance demonstrates the team’s work of transforming traditional Tao songs into various musical genres, ranging from rap to experimental improvisation. Stories and myths from Tao culture are expressed and transferred into contemporary art forms.


Ming Wang

The Lost Garden of Eden - electroacoustic compositions

A hundred years ago, the indigenous people "Tao" in Lanyu were considered and researched as living fossils from the Stone Age. But already in the second half of the 20th century, the tradition and life of Tao were greatly changed by the influences of the Chinese and the Christian mission.
In recent years, because of the rapidly increasing tourism and politics of the Taiwanese government is nature in Lanyu very polluted.
The traditional culture of Tao has been lost a lot, but the economic situation has improved significantly. This creates a large area of tension between tradition, modern materialism, cultural identity, environmental problems and social relationships.

After 3 weeks on this charming island, I tried to reflect the current situation of Lanyu with a few electro-acoustic compositions.



Hui Ye, Wei-Ya Lin, Johannes Kretz, Samu Gryllus

Performance of Oblivion for viola, dulcimer and electronics (2 performers)

Fu Tian

Salted Golden Shine: Composition für rap and electronics
















PEEK Project 

Projekt AR 463-G24 supported by Austrian Science Fund (FWF)

SAVE THE DATE - final presentations in Vienna and Budapest



Report on the website of the Taiwanese embassy (German)

Article in the mdw Magazin 

Creative (Mis)Understandings: Methodologies of Inspiration


This project aims to develop transcultural approaches of inspiration (which we regard as mutually appreciated intentional and reciprocal artistic influence based on solidarity) by combining approaches from contemporary music composition and improvisation with ethnomusicological and sociological research. We encourage creative (mis)understandings emerging from the interaction between research and artistic practice, and between European art music, folk and non-western styles, in particular from indigenous minorities in Taiwan. Both comprehension and incomprehension yield serendipity and inspiration for new research questions, innovative artistic creation, and applied follow-ups among non-western communities.

The project departs from two premises: first, that contemporary western art music as a practice often tends to resort to certain degrees of elitism; and second, that non-western musical knowledge is often either ignored or merely exploited when it comes to compositional inspiration. We do not regard inspiration as unidirectional, an “input” like recording or downloading material for artistic use. Instead, we foster artistic interaction by promoting dialogical and distributed knowledge production in musical encounters. Developing inter­disciplinary and transcultural methodologies of musical creation will contribute on the one hand towards opening up the—rightly or wrongly supposed—“ivory tower of contemporary composition”, and on the other hand will contribute towards the recognition of the artistic value of non-western musical practices. By highlighting the reciprocal nature of inspiration, creative (mis)understandings will result in socially relevant and innovative methodologies for creating and disseminating music with meaning.

The methods applied in the proposed project will start out from ethnographic evidence that people living in non-western or traditional societies often use methods of knowledge production within the sonic domain which are commonly unaddressed or even unknown among western contemporary music composers (aside from exotist or orientalistic appropriations of “the other”).

The project is designed in four stages: field research and interaction with indigenous communities in Taiwan with a focus on the Tao people on Lanyu Island, collaborative workshops in Vienna, an artistic research and training phase with invited indigenous Taiwanese coaches in Vienna, and feeding back to the field in Taiwan. During all these stages, exchange and coordination between composers, music makers, scholars and source community experts will be essential in order to reflect not only on the creative process, but also to analyse and support strong interaction between creation and society. Re-interaction with source communities as well as audience participation in the widest sense will help to increase the social relevance of the artistic results.

The University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna (MDW) will host the project. The contributors are Johannes Kretz (project leader) and Wei-Ya Lin (project co-leader, senior researcher) with their team of seven composers, ten artistic research partners from Taiwan and six artistic and academic consultants with extensive experience in the relevant fields.


Maps of Creative (Mis)Understandings

(Presentation of the preliminary project results)



      Fieldwork on Lanyu Summer 2019

            House launching ritual

Reflections and Discussions of the Team    Members

            Johannes Kretz

            Samu Gryllus

            Si Pehbowen

            Ming Wang

            Hui Ye

            Wolfgang Liebhart