Multimedia: paSta'ay (2011)

PaSta'ay is a ritual of the aboriginal Saisiyat people in Taiwan. According to the legend, once, the Negritos lived in the caves in the opposite side of the Peng Lai River. They instructed the Saisiyat people how to farm and pray to Heaven. However, because of lustfulness, they disgraced the Saisiyat women. To revenge the evil deeds of the Negritos that were getting more serious, the Saisiyat men cut off the bridge tree and had all the Negritos fall into the water and die. Before leaving, two surviving Negritos cursed the Saisiyat people. In fear of the curse of the Negritos, the Saisiyat people held the PaSta'ay once every two years to repent and pray for the Negritos. The ritual is divided to welcoming the spirits, amusing the spirits with three successive nights of dancing, and the final spirits sending. The ritual process involves several legendary taboos and symbolic tools such as the Japanese silver grass, efficacious house, buttocks ring, and divine snake whip. The dance and ceremony process in the ritual match up mutually. Besides the legend of the Negritos, the content includes the legends of other deities. The structure of the entire ritual song is very huge and completed. It’s with the form of an epic.

With the acoustics and images of paSta’ay that I gathered in the field survey in 2010, I tried to reinterpret the actual situation of the ritual and its inner spiritual level through multimedia. The acoustic creation was mainly reproduced on the basis of the ritual songs with images and written descriptions as the support. The symbolic relations of acoustics and images were adopted for presenting the concept of the real and the artificial, which displayed the image of the mutual-invasion and fleeing of the real state and the artificial state in the ritual. The work is divided into five sections in accordance with the ritual process, from welcoming the spirits after the prelude to the Negritos legend mainly stated in the ritual song and the midnight preaching of the elders to sending the spirits by the river in the final day.