Tahao/Middle Road: From Imagining Nation to Embodying Transnation

Merlinda Bobis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    This is a creative-critical discussion of my expatriate arts practice (literature and performance) using re/conceptualisations of the border as the underpinning framework. The Tahao Road (“Middle/Border Road”) is a very busy road in my original home, Legazpi. The road cuts across the heart of the city. It was built in the late 90s (long after I left home) to relocate and ease the congested traffic from the old road. Using this as a metaphor for my “border practice” away from home and the national/ist imaginary, I will trace how the expatriate writer relocates “the traffic” of the imaginary from the nation to the transnation in order to help it survive between its new and old home. This survival strategy de-territorialises the sensibility but also renders it “suspect,” in terms of loyalty and currency, to both sides of the border: Australia and the Philippines. More dangerously, it cuts/fragments the heart of the artist; the only way to “make whole” is to embody the border. To live the “Tahao Road,” thus find a way back home.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)46-70
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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