2020年1月6日 星期一

Stones and Elephants

Stones and Elephants
Two-channel video installation, 13’, 2019
Commissioned by the 2019 Singapore Biennale in collaboration with KADIST as part of Frequency of Tradition, curated by Hyunjin Kim, a three-year series of seminars, commissions, and exhibitions taking place across Asia.

This work premiered on November 19th, 2019 in the Singapore Biennale.Stones and Elephants is derived from the Malay classic The Hikayat Abdullah. The author Abdullah, who once served as the secretary of Resident William Farquhar, chronicled his life in Malaysia and published his writings in 1849. This art piece excerpted two chapters from this literary classic to serve as narration. 'Melaka Fort' depicts how the British destroyed the strong fortress to weaken Malacca and return control of the region to the Dutch East India Company. In the next chapter, Abdullah describes the locals, William Farquhar and his interest in ecology, especially the scene of hiring a Malay shaman to order a round-up of elephants.

In this piece, the artist invited a Malay shaman to read these two stories in Malay as a voice-over and to pray for a peaceful filming trip. The rituals were held in two places. The first was located in the atrium inside the Malacca Museum of History and Ethnology. This was William Farquhar's office area in Malacca at that time, where he conducted official business. The other was on the grass near the transmission tower, using an airborne drone. The unique perspective offered by the drone allowed, on the one hand, the drone and the transmission tower to serve complementary roles as tools of photography. On the other hand, the tower also fulfilled an anthropomorphic role in the film, creating a unique relationship between the human (the Malay shaman) and the non-human (the drone). Apart from the pictures taken by the drone, other materials are also included in the piece. The first is the elephant mentioned in The Hikayat Abdullah, and another is the transmission tower near the museum. The drone depends on the tower as the source of its signals, but the drone also cannot venture too close to the tower for fear of signal interference.

This work is a two-channel video installation. During the exhibition, it must be connected to the Internet for visitors to search for keywords related to this work. Changes to the network and visitors’ daily lives will occur as the exhibition goes on, and consequently, the contents and results of the online searches will also become different. This networking technology corresponds strongly with the network between the transmission tower and the drone in the film. However, it is also unknown whether the story in the narration happened in actuality. The artist can only use technology and the Internet as a vessel for memories. As stated in the narration, 'all these have passed, showing that everything is such fragile.' Algorithms ensure that every keyword search will show different results, presenting a bit of truth among the uncertainty of this work. Through this, an attempt is made to retrace historical scenes that have been lost to time.

本作品由2019新加坡雙年展委託製作。協同卡蒂斯特藝術基金會發展合作計畫Frequency of Tradition,此為Hyunjin Kim策劃的三年期計畫,將於亞洲地區舉行一系列研討會、藝術委託計劃和展覽。

《石頭與大象》(2019)的故事背景援引於馬來新文學經典《阿都拉傳》,作者阿都拉曾擔任馬六甲行政首長法誇爾的秘書,他將在馬來西亞生活的所見所聞記錄下來,此經典於1849年出版。此作品截取其中兩章節作為旁白:馬六甲城牆 一章中,描述了英國人如何破壞堅固的馬六甲要塞以削弱馬六甲,並將其歸還給荷蘭東印度公司;下一章中,他描繪了馬六甲當地居民、威廉・法誇爾與他在生態學方面的興趣,特別是雇用巫師圍捕大象的情景。

在這件創作中,藝術家請到馬來巫師以馬來文朗讀此兩段故事做為畫外音,並為拍攝過程祈福。祈福的地點有二,其一位於現在馬六甲歷史與民族學博物館內的中庭,此處為威廉・法誇爾當時在麻六甲的辦公室區域。其二則是鄰近電塔的草地上,透過空拍機的特殊視點,一方面空拍機與電塔相輔相成做為攝影機具,另一方面也是作為影片中擬人化的演員,形成人(馬來巫師)與非人(空拍機)之間的交流。除了空拍機所拍攝的畫面,還包括了不同的素材,其一是在《阿都拉傳》中提到的動物 - 大象,其二是在博物館附近的電塔。電塔作為訊號來源,既是空拍機訊號傳輸的依賴對象,卻又不能與其距離太近以免受到干擾。




2019年4月26日 星期五

Work Paths until 2019

Work Paths until 2019 
Installation, Dimension Variable, 2019 

Hsu Chia-Wei’s 2008 The Story of Hoping Island centred on the shipyard on Hoping Island, under which lay the 17th-century fortress rebuilt by the Dutch East India Company. For the past two years, Hsu’s creative process has focused on traces leading from this starting point. This installation depicts a network of relationships from the initial archaeological site, describing a map of movements as well. The elaborate network extends from Hoping Island across Asia, comprising the Dutch Governor’s House in Malacca built in 1641, the Fort Noord-Holland rebuilt in 1642, and the war between Cambodia and the Dutch in 1644. We also trace relationships between Malacca and William Farquhar of the British East India Company, elephants and Malayan tapirs, the shared Classical Chinese character for both “tapir” and “panda,” and connections between the Dutch East India Company, deerskins, Taiwan and Sengoku-period Japan. These dynamic connections crossing space and time become key images, with three archaeological scenes from the underwater to high mountains as background, featuring in the central map of this exhibition, with connections ever increasing through the creative process-a use of the modern-day digital internet of Things to peer into the colonial Network of Things.


許家維2008年的作品《和平島故事》曾拍攝和平島上的造船廠,這地點下方埋藏了十七世紀荷蘭東印度公司的北荷蘭城,從此線索出發,成為他近兩年的創作方向。這裝置呈現藝術家從和平島的考古事件所擴展出的關係圖,也是某種行動的路徑。從和平島延伸至亞洲區域,交織出複雜的關係網絡,例如1641年建造的麻六甲荷蘭總督府、1642年改建的北荷蘭城以及1644年發生的柬荷大戰,這三者之間的關聯;麻六甲與英國東印度公司總督威廉・法夸爾(William Farquhar)、大象、馬來貘之間的關係;馬來貘與熊貓在字源學上的同源;荷蘭東印度公司、鹿皮、台灣與日本戰國時代的連結等等。這些跨越時空的元素成為關鍵字影像,以水下到高山的三種考古現場作為背景,在關係圖中呈現出相互的動態連結,並隨著創作行動的過程中不斷增生,試圖以今日數位的物聯網思考方式,觀看殖民時代的物聯網。 

黃宏錡攝影  北師美術館提供

黃宏錡攝影  北師美術館提供

2019年4月10日 星期三

Samurai and Deer

Samurai and Deer
Two-channel video installation, 8’50”, 2019

Taking as its launch point the trading network of the 17th century, this work traces the common commodity of deerskin through hyperconnections transcending time and space. Since European coinage was not popularly accepted in 17th-century Asia, the Dutch East India Company relied on instead of barter, for example trading Indonesian spices for Taiwanese deerskins, and then reselling large quantities of deer skins in Japan for silver, and finally using this silver as capital for further trade.

Deerskin was in high demand in Japan, as Edo-period samurai culture consumed large quantities in armour, accessories, and clothing. Yet after years of overhunting, Taiwan could not keep up with the demand for deerskins in Japan, and as such the Dutch East India Company searched for alternative sources, finally coming to Phnom Penh in Cambodia in an attempt to corner the deerskin market. As a result, they came into conflict with the Cambodian king, who launched a series of naval wars from 1643 to 1644 along the Mekong River to expel the Dutch East India Company and in the end succeeding in their efforts.

The deerskin trade brought samurai culture, Dutch-Cambodian wars, and Taiwan into a complicated, interconnected relationship, which the artist has brought into the contemporary age. Videos shot in Cambodian and Japan include oral narratives from keepers at the Phnom Penh zoo, aerial footage of the Mekong River at the location where the Dutch and Cambodian armies fought, and modern-day cargo ships carrying gravel, as well as interview and handicraft footage from a Tokyo samurai armour workshop, internet imagery, and Google Maps data — use of the modern-day digital Internet of Things to peer into the colonial Network of Things.




黃宏錡攝影 北師美術館提供

2019年1月18日 星期五

Malayan Tapir on Canvas Tri-Set

黃宏錡攝影 北師美術館提供

In the seventeenth century, European countries expanded their maritime trade and economical path to Asia. In addition to the flow of merchandise, the development of knowledge systems such as biology and science were also linked with the growing trade expansion. From Macao, Natural History Drawings, which were used to record the ecology of animals and plants, were introduced to China. The first commander of the British East India Company, Mr William Farquhar, who was sent to Malacca, hired a Chinese painter to record flora and fauna of the Peninsula of Malaysia. This collection of natural history has become a valuable resource to understand the ecology and history of this time.

Today the Natural History Drawings of the colonial period are an essential basis for understanding the life forms of the past. Many animals and plants were also included in a scientific system and named according to their characteristics. These Natural History Drawings were closely linked to science and art, and the advancement of art techniques lead to the further development of science. As we can see in this collection, the close connection of science, art, commerce, and politics in the colonial era is akin to today's “Internet of Things”, which connects various events or individuals together.

With modern technology, the artist uses the narrative of Natural History Drawings, where he combines various images, technology products, software backgrounds and Natural History Drawings, by using the collage technique.

十七世紀歐洲國家拓展海上貿易與經濟的路徑來到亞洲,除了商品貨物的流動,也連動著生物學、科學等知識系統建立的發展。當時用來記錄動植物生態的自然歷史繪畫從澳門傳入中國。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) 則曾經雇用中國畫師,繪製馬來西亞半島的動植物,這一系列的收藏成為現今了解當時生態與歷史的重要自然歷史繪畫。



金屬支架、藝術微噴於畫布99 x 133.5 x 14.5公分2019

Sugar Palms on the Sunny Beach
Metal Bracket, C-print on Canvas, 99 x 133.5 x 14.5 cm, 2019

The protagonist in Hsu’s Work: “Sugar Palms on the Sunny Beach”, is a native plant in Southeast Asia. This fruit can be used to make sugar, and its juice can also be used to extract alcohol. This plant is also an important cash crop in the region. In today's consumer society impression, palm trees, ocean, beach, sun and birds create a kind of holiday imagination. Between these palm trees, we can find various birds, such as the “Oriental bay owl”, the “Chestnut-breasted Malkoha”, the “Woodpecker”, the “black-and-red broadbill”, the “Rufous- Winged Philentoma” and the “Asian Paradise-flycatcher”.

金屬支架、藝術微噴於畫布99 x 133.5 x 14.5公分2019

The Small Malayan Tapir in the Mystery Forest
Metal Bracket, C-print on Canvas, 99 x 133.5 x 14.5 cm, 2019

Several animals such as The seabird “Tern”, “Slow Loris”, the “Dark-Handed Gibbon” and the Small “Malayan Tapir” appear in Hsu’s Work: "The Small Malayan Tapir in the Mystery Forest". The body pattern of the Small Malayan Tapir is different from the Adult Malayan Tapir. These little white spots and lines scattered on the brown body, are a protective colour, which helps the Tapir to disappear in the forest. After the Malayan Tapir grows into adulthood, his white spots gradually fade away and turn into the familiar black and white shapes.

金屬支架、藝術微噴於畫布133.5 x 99 x 14.5公分2019

The Adult Malayan Tapir is Surrounded by Mountains
Metal Bracket, C-print on Canvas, 133.5 x 99 x 14.5 cm, 2019

In “The Adult Malayan Tapir is Surrounded by Mountains”, a tree-dwelling mammal “Mole”, a “Pangolin”, the “Grey-Cheeked Flying Squirrel” and the “House Mouse” are surrounded by mountains in the forest. In the centre, a big Malayan Tapir steps out of the TV screen and enters the canvas world.

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 recognised 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 modernisation. 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 the 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
Five-channel Video Installation, 2018
  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’’

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 the 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. 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。