artists & participants
June 3–September 3, 2023
Chia-Wei Hsu, Ting-Tong Chang, and Hsien-Yu Cheng
There Is Another Capital Beneath the Waves
In collaboration with YCAM
Artists: Chia-Wei Hsu, Ting-Tong Chang, and Hsien-Yu Cheng
The Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media [YCAM] is pleased to present There Is Another Capital Beneath the Waves, for which the Taiwan-based artists Chia-Wei Hsu, Ting-Tong Chang, and Hsien-Yu Cheng, will unveil their latest work.
Individually, each of them is an internationally operating and reputed artist who has won major art awards in Taiwan in the past, and has participated in international exhibitions around the world. In recent years, the three of them have been collaborating on a project exploring the memory of modernization and historical relations between Taiwan and Japan, inspired by aspects of industrial sugar production in Taiwan during the time of Japanese rule.
Unveiled at this exhibition is a new work related to this project. Set in Moji and Mojiko in Japan, a place that once flourished as an international trade hub at a time when the Japanese industry was developing according to the progress of modernization, the work combines methods of Japanese puppet theatre and CG animation, as well as elements of video and live performance. It is produced and presented in collaboration with YCAM.
The exhibition is designed to focus from various angles on the memory of modernization and the Pacific War in Moji and Mojiko, located rather close to Yamaguchi, and highlight the hidden parts of history that connect Japan and Taiwan.
Restaging history by way of animation and VR This exhibition is divided into two parts and features a brand new work. Shown in part one, Crystal Seeding is a video installation set in Huwei, a town in Taiwan that flourished thanks to its sugar-manufacturing industry. The history of this town, including the heritage of modernization in the form of sugar mills built during the time of Japanese rule, is illustrated through a mixture of traditional Taiwanese puppet theater and music.
The new work, There Is Another Capital Beneath the Waves, which is unveiled in part two, is set in Moji and Mojiko in Japan. There is a sugar mill also in Moji today, which used to be operated by the same company that also operated a mill in Huwei. This is how the two towns have been connected through sugar. Both were strategically important bases during the war, and they both suffered severe damage in air raids when the war intensified.
In this work, the memories of war and modernization in Moji and Mojiko are portrayed by means of Japanese traditional joruri puppet theater, CG animation, music and live performance, while also overlapping with the famous local tale of the Heike clan. The title is in fact a line from The Tale of the Heike that describes scenes of the Battle of Dan-no-ura.
The movements of the puppet masters and puppets, performers and avatars, symbolically suggest the complexly tangled relationship of “controlling and being controlled.” What exactly is the driving force that has repeatedly generated this relationship throughout history? This is the question that this work inspires the viewer to explore through a mixture of traditional and contemporary styles, while moving back and forth between the real and the virtual world.