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.