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「再基地:當實驗成為態度」園區作品導覽 | CLABO實驗波CLABO實驗波
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Review

Introduction to the Works of Re-Base: When Experiments Become Attitude

Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries, 100 Fortunes. Photo courtesy of C-LAB
Info
DATE2018.12.27
TEXT LIN Yi-Hsiu
Re-BaseexhibitionContemporary Art

The exhibition Re-Base: When Experiments Become Attitude covered five buildings of the Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab (C-LAB): Art Space I, Art Space II, Art Space III, Art Space IV, the New Office Building, and the Political Warfare Building. It was the largest exhibition held since the launch of C-LAB. This complex, formerly the Air Force Command Headquarters, has a layout different from most exhibition venues. The buildings are far from one another. Due to this, the curatorial team developed a word system in association with the exhibited works. On the exteriors of the exhibition buildings and along the wall that surrounds the complex, key words and phrases connected to the artists’ works were displayed to respond to the relationships between the works and the spaces.

Art Space I

At the entrance to C-LAB on Jianguo South Road, the works of Korean art duo Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries attracted attention as they were shown on a giant outdoor LED screen. This duo was formed in 1999, with most of their early works online art. More recent works have involved words and images accompanied by music. All this duo’s previous works were presented indoors. This time, 100 Fortunes was their first attempt at an outdoor exhibition. One hundred humorous and sarcastic statements referred to the various appearances of the art environment. In addition to providing entertainment, they served to discuss the identities and roles of contemporary artists.

On the second floor of the exhibition space was CHEN Hui-Chiao’s installation, A Room with a View. Over the long term, CHEN has excelled at drawing attention to issues through the composition or contrast of existing objects. In addition to serving as an extension of the history of the Air Force Command Headquarters, this work’s other starting point was the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I (November 11, 2018). A Room with a View was composed of 16 military beds covered with needles and colorful thread. The constellation Canis Major comprised of Murzim and many other stars decorated the floor. From these objects, associated with dreaming, love and lust, life and death, and rest, this work further explored the dark corners of human history in terms of military conflicts and technological developments and imagination derived from the relationship between the work and the space. Behind CHEN’s work, WU Chi-Yu’s three-channel video Asia Air made full use of the fragmented space. He imagined this space as a VR viewing experience, and visitors were standing on the left or right sides of the brain. WU’s recent works have focused on the ability of video projection to form the space and looked at human history through a non-human perspective. The inspiration of the work, where the drone serves as the narrator, came from the flight maps left in various spaces of the base after the Air Force personnel moved out. He further explored how people standardize and control airspace, the lines of which are drawn by different countries based on different purposes.

CHEN Hui-Chiao’s installation A Room with a View. Photo courtesy of C-LAB

Art Space III

KAO Chung-Li, who has focused on visual issues for many years, discussed the relationship of mutual observation and reflection for image, object, and subject through three works. Narcissus with Echo was located in the arc-shaped space of the entrance to Art Space III. As its title suggested, a moving device, which rotated 360 degrees, captured and projected images of the space (including visitors) with multiple mirrors and cameras. Fifteen similar sized television screens and camera equipment formed a television wall in Who’s in the Labyrinth. Images came from the instant capture of visitors’ faces played after a delay. As visitors viewed this work, they were filmed. From the reflection and transmission of images, KAO created Transfigured Justice, Les Carabiniers, and A Page of Madness in the Object Book Series based on the principles of opaque projectors. In addition to continuing the questioning about the essence of images, he cited scenes from Jean-Luc GODARD’s film Les Carabiniers and used objects in a leather suitcase from a time of war, further encouraging discussion and experimentation on the concept of “bit image without history.”

KAO Chung-Li Who’s in the Labyrinth. Photo courtesy of C-LAB

Art Space II

After the project Sleep 48 was shown at Prix Ars Electronica in Austria in September 2018, Sleep 79, displayed for 79 days on the first floor of Art Space II, was comprised of several events. It was the re-extension of the exploration of sleep issues by CHEANG Shu-Lea and Matthew FULLER. Twenty-five rickshaw-style mobile sleeping carts were made available for visitors to rest. In this space, different events took place every week (readings for sleeping, sleeping with mosquitos, etc.). The back area of the main exhibition space included a small library with documents and books on sleep-related subjects, as well as an exhibition of sleep-related works by Sakiko YAMAOKA, Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries, and Matthew FULLER. Visitors could also taste the teas “Silence” and “Noise,” brewed from edible weeds collected around C-LAB by Zo LIN (Weed Day), who collaborated on this project. “Sleep Well Beer” was specially brewed for this project by Alechemist. (The first version of “Sleep Well Beer” was made for Sleep 48 by the Austrian brewery Thor Bräu, and the Stadtwerkstatt Culture Center. The plant ciwujia, which has a bitter taste and enhances sleep was added to the beer.)

Shu Lea CHEANG and Matthew FULLER Sleep 79. Photo courtesy of C-LAB

Walking upstairs to the second floor of the exhibition space, another work of Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries, Metafortune, came into view. It was inspired by the artists’ visit to Taiwan several months before. They transformed the customs observed in temples in Taiwan into words, including fortune-telling, casting divination blocks, and drawing lots to explore people’s desire of having some guidance when encountering an unknown future and feeling lost and fearful. This is a metaphor for people’s attitudes toward life and the environment, exploring whether they imagine life’s pressures as some irresistible destiny and power. In the other space on the second floor was CHOU Man-Nung’s mixed media creation, Girl-Machine. It combined script, performance, and installation. The inspiration of this work came from studies of “girl” in Japan. CHOU applied this concept to look back on the functional transformation of C-LAB from its military to political, industrial, and governing stages. This work lied in stark contrast to the imagination of this complex, which is relatively masculine and solid. There were four on-site performances during the exhibition of Girl-Machine, with the appearance of the space changing during each performance.

The first performance of CHOU Man-Nung’s Girl-Machine: Overture. Photo courtesy of C-LAB

New Office Building

The black box space extending out from the front of the New Office Building was the work of poet HSIA Yu, Only Rain Could Make the City Tilt. It was based on a 2016 collection of poetry entitled First Person, which is endowed with the concept of film and composed of more than 500 bad travel photos and 300 intensely musical phrases, building up an atmosphere of black box-like theater. Only Rain Could Make the City Tilt was an expansion with new images and Anti-Musicality: Nineteen Poems, a new poem of more than 400 lines added. Within the context, the relationship between words on LED message boards and images changed during the readings. The rain screen separating the viewers from the image poems in the installation created a sense of distance and, at the same time, an alternate sensory reading experience.

HSIA Yu Only Rain Could Make the City Tilt. Photo courtesy of C-LAB

Art Space IV

Another performance work was Co-coism’s Where is Ai-Guo Lin? Although this work was designated for Art Space IV, the original auditorium of the Air Force Command Headquarters, it actually moved with the performers’ bodies. The title Where is Ai-Guo Lin? responded to the space of the Air Force Command Headquarters, encouraging imagination of gender in an honor guard’s performance, which symbolizes the national image. Is some people’s behavior excluded under the masculine appearance of the military honor guard? Male performers with effeminate features were recruited and honor guard practice was conducted every weekend with open rehearsals. In addition, courses rich in satire were held to discuss how to make physiological males appear more manly. The performers presented the results of honor guard training on the first day of 2019 during the New Year’s Day flag raising ceremony at C-LAB while the more formal version was held in front of the Presidential Office Building.

Art Space IV, the original auditorium of the Air Force Command Headquarters, is equipped with a large screen. In Ken RINALDO’s 3D work, The Continuous War Train, a freight train loaded with military weapons slowly passed through a civilian town. Most of RINALDO’s early works focused on the discussion of the relationships among humans and machines, nature, and the environment. This new work came from his doubt and concerns about the military expenditures of the US. President Donald Trump announced the intention to establish the Space Force in 2020. This new, independent branch raises international tensions. The budget for national defense of the US is 12 times higher than the sum of the neighboring 12 countries. RINALDO believes that military expenditures in the name of defense directly work to eliminate funding for more important issues such as humanitarian aid, education, and global warming. In this seemingly peaceful era, war never ceases.

Political Warfare Building

On the second floor of the Political Warfare Building, in the center of C-LAB, Airspace partially echoed the work of Ken RINALDO. This work was open every hour and every half hour. Created by CHEN Chih-Chien, it incorporated AR technology and was in the former commander’s office. The man-made fog lingering on the floor was a metaphor for the clouds and the sky. In this AR installation, viewers could see phantom-like fictional flying objects. In the ruins of the top command center of the Air Force in Taiwan, the papers on the walls have been preserved. While collecting information, CHEN found that it was almost impossible for ordinary civilians to find out about the internal history. The most accessible materials were those used by the media to form an image of the military, such as parades and procurements. In Airspace, in addition to representing the image of a military parade by 601st Brigade of the ROC Army Aviation and Special Forces Command with 3D technology, he rethought the positioning of military power and nature through media discussions on the issue of Taiwan’s anticipated purchase of the most expensive fighter aircraft in history, the F35.

In the rooms on both sides of the Political Warfare Building, DENG Yao-Horng’s Shadow of a Cocoon was composed of forgotten everyday items and a giant dead rat model that seemed to cross the entire space. DENG’s works are related to the fermentation of time. A sculpture often takes years to develop before it nears a state of completion in his mind. He describes the continuous conversations with the collected waste and remnants as they are recorded endlessly in sketches. Five years ago, DENG found a dead rat that had been undiscovered in the corner for years and weathered like a fallen leaf when he was moving. After reflection and pondering for two years, he finished this large sculpture. These leftovers, covered with dust, corresponded to the basic history of flight, as well as how unseen pities and memories were reconstructed here.

CHEN Chih-Chien Airspace. Photo courtesy of C-LAB
Info
DATE2018.12.27
TEXT LIN Yi-Hsiu
Re-BaseexhibitionContemporary Art
Author
LIN Yi-Hsiu
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