Playing with identity and authenticity: Hetain Patel at TEDGlobal 2013


TED Blog

“I don’t know how to introduce this, so I’ll just say, ‘Hetain Patel,'” says TED curator Chris Anderson. So no one knows what to expect, and that’s as may be, because this is some crazy right here.

Patel walks onstage and crouches in a chair next to the dancer Yuyu Rau. He speaks a few sentences in Mandarin, and Rau proceeds to translate. “If I may, I would like to tell you a little bit about myself and my artwork. I was born and raised near Manchester in England, but I’m not going to say it in English to you. I’m trying to avoid any assumptions that might be made from my northern accent.”

It’s at this point that the audience begins to get the sense that something is up. Patel continues: “The only problem with my Chinese Mandarin is I can only speak this one paragraph, which I…

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