2018年12月10日 星期一

Mineral Crafts

Mineral Crafts
Three-channel Video Installation, 9’52”, 2018
Commissioned by Gold Museum, New Taipei City

Jinguashi is recognized for its gold and copper mines and the subject of Mineral Crafts is copper. The work connects the geographical features of Jinguashi and the development of the mining industry during Japanese occupied time with the key role that copper plays in humanity’s past, present and future.

Copper was the first metal to be used by humans. It is used widely for household objects, weaponry, electrical conductors, etc. and has changed our lives on a massive scale. The work is made in the online game Minecraft. With collaboration from the gaming community, we created the terrain of Jinguashi, the 13-level remains of Copper Refinery, and the Four Joined Japanese-style Residence. The narration for the video was made with Google Text-to-Speech, act as a guide in the game to help the audience immerse in the history of Jinguashi and its connections with the rest of the world.

In the real world, copper has propelled human society from ancient times to the Information Age, and the technology developed in the Information Age further allows us to do mining and construction in the virtual world of Minecraft. This is an Internet of Things built on minerals. With copper as an overarching theme, Mineral Crafts attempts to expand the historical context of a single region into a history of technology that chronicles the symbiosis of people and objects.

三頻道錄像裝置, 9’52”, 2018


2018年10月18日 星期四

Black and White - Malayan Tapir

Black and White - Malayan Tapir
Four-channel Video Installation, 6’55”, 2018

The development in Southeast Asia progressed when the British East India Company chose Singapore as a commercial base and started its modernization. As commercial development took place in Singapore, Europe also rapidly started to gather data and initiate the study of plants and animals also the establishment of museums. William Farquhar, the first commandant of the British East India Company in Malacca, hired a Chinese painter to do large-scale mapping and sorting of species in Malay Peninsula. As a result, a black and white creature, Malayan tapir, was recorded.

Due to the rapid development of biology, the naming and data recording of animals and plants had become a competitive field for many naturalists. However, Thomas Stamford Raffles, the commandant of the British East India Company in Penang, and William Farquhar, the commandant in Malacca, stayed engaged in political competition and started scientific disputes. Their recorded collection of animals and plants at the time was shipped from place to place during the colonial era until it returned to Singapore to the National Heritage Board.

Black and White – Malayan Tapir, hopes to apply an encyclopedic narrative style to deal with the equality between people and non-humans, man and nature, and to explore the changes in the way modern people view images. The scenes switch from the National Gallery Singapore, the National History Museum, Singapore Zoo to search engines and multiple windows. The political relationship between the history of the zoo in Southeast Asia and the colonial era leads to the drawing of a scientific illustration, biology, civil division and the local legend of Malayan tapir.

四頻道錄像裝置, 6’55”, 2018

英國東印度公司在東南亞開發之際,選擇新加坡作為商業的據點,開始了當地的現代性建設。商業開發的同時,歐洲也同時快速發展動植物學與博物館的資料搜集與建構。英國東印度公司派任麻六甲的第一任司令威廉・法夸爾(William Farquhar)曾雇用中國畫師,針對馬來西亞的物種做大規模的繪製與整理,因而記錄了一種黑白生物:馬來貘。

在生物學迅速發展的時代,動植物的命名與資料記錄成為眾多生物愛好者相互競爭的範疇。然而,英國東印度公司的檳城司令萊佛士(Thomas Stamford Raffles)與麻六甲司令威廉・法夸爾,從政治的競爭關係延燒到科學的紛爭。他們當時候的動植物紀錄收藏歷經殖民時代的海上移動,輾轉回到新加坡,收藏在新加坡國家文物局。



Black and White - Giant Panda

Black and White - Giant Panda
  Chapter 1: It's a Pug / 9’46’’
  Chapter 2: So Cute! / 12’40’’
  Chapter 3: A Communist Panda / 7’11’’
  Chapter 4: A Black and White Bear / 11’44’’
  Chapter 5: Family Reunion / 11’27’’
Single-channel video installation,2018

In Black and White – Giant Panda, a panda is used as the entry point and acts as a connection between politics, history, animals, people and non-humans to tell the history of panda diplomacy.

Pandas can only be found in the mountains of Sichuan in China. In other words, all pandas in the zoos in other countries are from China. Pandas even became an essential diplomatic tool in the 20th century. China’s panda diplomacy goes back thousands of years to as early as 685 AD when Empress Wu Ze-Tian sent a pair of white bears and seventy furs of white bear (white bear here refers to giant pandas) to the Japanese emperor. Pandas were smuggled or traded from China at the beginning of the 20th century. The panda fever started when they appeared in the United States and Europe. They played an important diplomatic role in World War II, the Cold War, and still does to this day. Pandas also linked the complicated relationship between the United States, Europe, Russia, Japan, Taiwan, and China. 

The lecture performance, commissioned by the Arts Commons Tokyo in March 2018, was performed at the Taiwan Culture Center of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan. As a result of cooperation with the Manzaishis, panda’s lovely image is used as a material for comedy performance; meanwhile, the historical and political issues of panda diplomacy are described amusingly. In Black and White – Giant Panda, performance, historical materials, and the screen window viewing experience reflect and complement each other.

  第一章:走私/ 9’46’’
  第二章:好可愛啊!/ 12’40’’
  第三章:共產熊貓 / 7’11’’
  第四章:黑白熊 /11’44’’
  第五章:團圓/ 11’27’’



2018年3月由東京藝術公社委託製作的Lecture Performance於台北駐日經濟文化代表處台灣文化中心演出。透過與日本「漫才師」合作,以熊貓可愛的形象為喜劇演出的材料,用詼諧的言語描述熊貓外交的歷史與政治問題。《黒與白-熊貓》結合當時的表演影像、歷史材料與螢幕視窗的觀看經驗相互映照與補充,透過漫才師的敘事重新在熊貓的移動與交換拓展出歷史、國際政治的樣貌。

2017年12月18日 星期一

Industrial Research Institute of Taiwan Governor-General's Office

Industrial Research Institute of Taiwan Governor-General's Office
Single-channel video installation, 3' , 2017

This 3D animation is based on two photographs taken in the chemistry laboratories of the Taiwan Governor-General’s Office, the predecessor of what we know of today as the Industrial Research Institute. The 3D animation illustrates the visual ranges of these old photographs through skillful camera movements, revealing the construction of the 3D animation as the perspectives change accordingly. A TV stand is also included in the animation – showing clips of a military factory from the Japanese colonial period and views of an expo in the 30s. These recordings present the technological displays at the time and the desire to seek modernity, along with underlying Imperialism associations.




2017年12月17日 星期日

Drones, Frosted Bats and the Testimony of the Deceased

Drones, Frosted Bats and the Testimony of the Deceased
Four-channel video installation, 3' 40" ~ 8' 40", 2017

Drones, Frosted Bats and the Testimony of the Deceased is filmed at the abandoned site of Hsinchu Branch of the Sixth Japanese Naval Fuel Plant. During the World War II, the fuel plant was used to produce aviation fuel with butyl alcohol developed by the Department of Industrial Fermentation at the Industrial Research Institute. As a victim of the war, the deserted buildings reveal the stories of the past with the bullet holes on the walls as the eyewitness. The bullet holes on these deserted buildings reveal atrocities of war - scars evident of their pasts. Hsu utilizes the unique mobile perspectives of a drone, using it as exposed photographic equipment and casting it as an actor anthropomorphically in the video. Aside from the shots taken by the drone, this video also includes several different shots, for instance, a scene of frosted bats in a big chimney. Frosted bats are mostly found in the high latitudes of Japan, Korea, and North China. Yet, for unknown reasons, this northern species of frosted bats resides in the chimney of the military plant from May to July in recent years. The plant is the only place where the frosted bats can be found in Taiwan. Moreover, the video contains footages of bombers from World War II when United States allied with China to bomb Taiwan. However, this incident slowly faded as authorities shifted in the Asia-Pacific region. Hsu uses imageries of flying objects as essential elements of this video, including the original function of the fuel plant as an aviation fuel producer, drones, bats, and bombers.

The video narration originated from memoirs of factory employees at the time. Nineteen oral accounts dubbed by four voice actors in Japanese and the video archive manipulated by a computer program are arranged randomly on the playlist to constantly shift the structure of the video. As the narrator recounts: “After the War, most of the documents were incinerated. Quantity, date, people, accidents, sequence, cause and effects, evidences were all lost. Now, only the abstract and unreliable images remain.” Through the random calculations of the program, Hsu presents in this video the uncertainty of these memories and his response to the scattered historical text.

四頻道錄像裝置,3’40 ~ 8’40’’,2017



2017年12月16日 星期六


Single channel video installation, 9' 20", 2017

Takasago is a video installation combining two seemingly unrelated elements – Noh theatre and a perfume factory currently operating in Japan. Takasago International Corporation was founded in the 1920s in Japan. With the support from the government and technical assistance of the Industrial Department at Central Industrial Research Institute, it opened its first foreign branch in Taiwan aiming to expand the business, producing perfume and fragrance with local ingredients. The corporation was named Takasago for two reasons. First, owning to the fact that in old times raw materials were imported to Japan from Taiwan, Taiwan was given a Japanese name Takasago. Second, Takasago is also the well-known Noh play by Zeami Motokiyo in the Muromachi era about the lasting love between the twin pines transforming into an old married couple to express that the geographical distance will never separate them. In the work where Noh actors perform in the modern factory, the multiple references of the word “Takasago” and the moral of the ancient tale are connected through a writing beyond the script of history.



2017年12月15日 星期五

Nuclear Decay Timer

Nuclear Decay Timer
Four - channel video installation, 8' 40", 2017

For this work, Chia-Wei Hsu ollaborated with geologists to look at colonial history from a science history perspective. After the Great Kantō earthquake in 1923, Japan’s economy suffered a steep economic decline. In the hope of reviving the economy, Japanese established several benefits for the gold mining, thus resulting in a rapid development of colonial Taiwan’s gold mining industry. Meanwhile, zircon was discovered for the first time during this gold mining craze, yet it was not taken seriously at the time. It was not until the geologists discovered zircon in the riverbed of Mawudu River (Hsinchu) that it was put into research. Initially, researches aimed to survey these mineral resources in order to produce alloy and to support military’s development during the World War II, however later they realized that the output of zircon was insufficient. Although the plan ended in failure, the zircon samples from the excavation have new scientific applications for the later generations of geologists. With technological advances, such as the electron probe micro-analyzers, geologists can now determine the composition of zircon. In addition, with the help of nuclear physics, they are able to reveal intriguing information about the past. Zircon is like a nuclear decay timer that allows geologists to look at the span of time from the beginning of the world to the birth of humans.



在這個計畫中,藝術家與地質學家合作,試圖從科學史的角度重新回看殖民歷史。1923 年的日本關東大地震之後,由於日本經濟嚴重衰退,為了挽救經濟而訂定了許多金礦業的優惠條件,殖民地台灣的金礦業就此蓬勃發展。當時在採金礦的過程中,初次發現了副礦物「鋯石」,不過當時並未受到重視。直至二戰期間,日治時期的地質學家在新竹關西地區的馬武督溪河床,發現了一種特殊的鋯石巨晶,可作為合金用途,並用以支持二戰期間軍需產業的發展,於是投入研究。起初是作為礦產資源的調查,但最終其產量並不足以作為礦產資源。雖然這個計畫以失敗告終,但當時所留下來的鋯石標本,卻在不同世代的地質學家手中有了新的科學發展,透過電子微探儀定出成分,並結合核物理學的方法,讀出其中的時間資訊。鋯石成為了核衰變計時器,為地質學家展開的是從盤古開天闢地到人類誕生的時空跨度。