digital photograph, colour, original source: photograph, colour
DACHS 2009 Tan Dun in Mao Suit From “Beyond the Wall: Chinese Music at the Barbican,” Musiccriticism.com, 11 February 2009., Heidelberg catalogue entry
Red Forecast, Tan Dun, Mao suit, Mao cult, contemporary China, Mao memories, Mao jacket, Mao portrait
Tan Dun in Mao Attire
Not unlike other pieces of “wound music” (discussed in Mittler 2007, for example), Red Forecast may be considered an emotion-filled think piece, but it does not direct our manner of thinking in one and only one way. Like rock and jazz versions of revolutionary songs, Red Forecast is an important personal interpretation of the Cultural Revolution that may offer a glimpse into the confused and confusing emotional effects this long moment in Chinese history had on China’s population. Indeed, it ultimately leaves the audience feeling the “impossibility of coming to term(s) with (this) history” (Gooi 2002, 225).
Later quotations of “Red Is the East” as discovered by Christian Utz in Tan Dun’s Ghost Opera (2002, 450) and Marco Polo (2002, 464–66), as well as his self-fashioning in a (significantly grey?!) Mao jacket as seen here point to the importance the experience of the red 1960s in China continues to have in Tan Dun’s life. In spite all of this playfulness, the piece also points to a need to deal with a harrowing memory that simply does not let go.