Site design is an essential but overlooked underpinning to the festival-making process at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Through effective layout, structures, and captioning, spatial strategies undergird a program concept and crystallize the interpretive frame for performance. This article traces the 1989 Hawai’i program’s site design from the initial concept to the preperformance stage. It examines the tension between hegemonic festival parameters and the organizers’ efforts to problematize colonially inflected narratives, and it argues that rather than being a passive backdrop for performance, the Hawai’i program site design was a discursive field rife with contradiction and conflict.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.