fishing net, ocean debris (hauling lines), coral stones, metal equipment, ready-mades, laser level, framed printed documents, LED light
site-specific, dimensions variable
Among those islands in the South China Sea, Pratas Island (Dongsha Island) was once called “The Coral Island” , and has been mentioned in topographical studies and documents of various periods due to the enormous-scaled coral reefs and maritime activities since ancient times. However, because of its location as the important hub of shipping networks and fishing ground, the definition and name of this tiny island have shifted yet changed several times, from “Shixing Shitang (Starry Waters of Coral)”, “The Crescent Island”, “Nishizawa Island”to current “Pratas (Dongsha) Island”. The islands and reefs globally well-known for their natural prosperity and pivotal location have been under the rule of Imperial China and Nam Việt (Nanyue) Kingdom, and even controlled and developed by Japanese merchant and claimed by the United Kingdom. The split atoll has never been able to define a complete circle, as if its suspended affiliation drifting between waves and currents.
Until today, the South China Sea is still the red sea known for diplomatic conflicts entangled with the rising nationalism in SE Asia and conspiracy for natural resources. As the remote and alienated escrow area of Kaohsiung Municipality of Taiwan today, military deployment, natural environments and historical relics all prove the reality that ideologies and interests of human beings have always been intertwined ambiguously among these open yet ever-changing boundaries.
With corals – the stones collected from those demolished, ancient coastal buildings in Taiwan, a sea chart - received by chance - from the Chinese freighter accidentally stranded around the seashore of Kaohsiung, as well as ready-mades such as ocean debris and ropes on board, the artist utilizes “mechanics“ as the reference of his artistic concept and site-specific practice. He deconstructs and reassembles the labor scenes with historical documents, and through suspension, towing, entanglement, traction, as well as other load-bearing and technical operations, to prop up a floating and materialized seabed landform of this so-called ”Coral Island”, inviting the audience to experience the interactive stalemate between gravity and physical strength in forms of weight training, to recognize the symbols of corals constantly stacked onto the boundary of life and death, sea and land, and to feel how our consciousness and behavior moor this island at the blurry edge of continental shed base on human’s territorial interpretation of history.
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