18.00 – 21.00, Sunday 08.10.2023
Á Space, Alley 59 Ngô Gia Tự, Long Biên District, Hanoi
Ming-Jiun Tsai was born in Kaohsiung, Taiwan in 1981; Nantou is her hometown, and now she lives and works in Taichung. Acting as an observer, her long-term relationship with art – studying and working in the field of art since junior high school – stimulates her interests in the relationship between art, public and the society. She has long-term care of environment, nature and ecology and she also has been deeply concerned about Taiwanese history and social development, and these subject matters bring her research, collaborations, and practice gradually tend toward disciplines beyond visual arts. As an independent curator and artist, Ming-Jiun Tsai’s projects are often site and context specific involving working closely with different collaborators and producing commissions. Ming-Jiun Tsai focuses on the practice and research of contemporary curating and is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Fine Arts at Tunghai University.
Yu-Jou Tsai and Ke-Wei Wu are now graduate students of the Graduate Program of Taiwanese Literature, National Cheng Kung University. Since 2018, Wu Ke-Wei and Tsai Yu-Jou have dived into field research and art projects. They founded Kuanntian Studio and initiated Kuanntian: Story Procession Project (人田:故事遶境 計畫) to document villages in Guantian (官田) District while translating the contents of their field research into photographic images and narratives as well as the publication of a zine, titled Kuanntian. Recently, the project has been further extended into a co-creation with residents, which includes assisting residents in writing about local memories before gathering and compiling their writings into books, as well as co-organizing games informed by village histories with local elementary schools. They have been featured in the Green Island Human Rights Art Festival (2021, 2023), the Taiwan Design Expo (2021), the Mattauw Earth Triennial (2022), etc. Their projects focus on the encounter between life and the texture of places. Through long-term place-based actions, they create works through writing, photography, and installation.
Á is delighted to invite you to ‘From Burning to Green’, a presentation followed by a casual talk with Tsai Ming-Jiun, Tsai Yu-Jou and Wu Ke-Wei from Taiwan on the occasion of their visit to Vietnam. In this event, Tsai Ming-Jiun will share with us about the background research and her rationale that leads to ‘The 2023 Green Island Human Rights Art Festival: Listening to the Overtones of Fissures’*, in which she is the chief curator with Tsai Yu-Jou, Wu Ke-Wei and Nguyen Phuong Linh as the festival’s participating artists. Meanwhile, Tsai Yu-Jou and Wu Ke-Wei will walk us through their artistic practice and how it informs their long-term engagement with the Green Island, followed by a Q&A with the audience.
‘The 2023 Green Island Human Rights Art Festival – Listening to the Overtones of Fissures’ is themed on the seemingly passive, gentle gesture of “listening,” hoping to embrace different political, economic and systemic experiences of individuals. These experiences have created wounds, which are like “fissures” that have separated people. At the same time, “fissure” also denotes incongruences and divergencies. Like barriers or differences between individuals and the society produced by the White Terror, these incongruences and divergencies are largely overlooked and await our re-understanding as life progresses. “Overtones” refers to the voices or sounds constantly echoing or emitting from the fissures. An “overtone” is a different frequency that shares the same basis with a fundamental tone; and in this case, it becomes a metaphor for the outcast existences that have been ignored by mainstream opinions.
Launched in 2019, the Green Island Human Rights Art Festival ushers in its 4th edition this year, and has been given a one-year preparation period for the first time, which allows the curatorial team to thoroughly plan the festival, form an academic consulting group, organize co-learning talks and workshops, visit political victims and their offsprings for field research, as well as co-develop and co-create projects with related personnel. Dealing with the complex history and site of the White Terror, the mission of contemporary art creation and curating is not to represent history or recount the facts. Instead, the objective is to employ artists’ viewpoints, chosen media and creative approaches to transform and interpret their observations, understandings and discoveries of historical materials to create a new pathway that enables the audience to approach the difficult history.
Green Island is renowned both as a popular tourist destination and as a site marked by historical injustices during the White Terror era. However, both facets overlook the historical experiences of the inhabitants of Green Island on this island. Tsai Yu-Jou and Wu Ke-Wei’s exploration commences with an in-depth investigation into the lives and histories of Green Island’s inhabitants. This ongoing research endeavor has spanned three years since its inception in 2020 when they were selected as participating artists in the 2021 Green Island Human Rights Art Festival. Their continued work has been made possible through a grant from the National Culture and Arts Foundation and the kind invitation by the curator of the ‘2023 Green Island Human Rights Art Festival – Listening to the Overtones of Fissures’, Tsai Ming-Jiun.
Their presentation will encompass two distinct aspects: firstly, our ongoing 13-years project in Guantian, Tainan City, where they create a zine dedicated to each of the 13 villages within the district. Each village represents a year of exhaustive investigation, serving as the bedrock of our fieldwork. Secondly, they will introduce ‘Burning Island Travel Guide,’ the work featured in the 2023 Green Island Human Rights Art Festival. This work delves into the island’s history, culture, and collective memories, all through the lens of our evolving experiences with its ever-changing landscape. They also emphasize the collaborative relationships and ethical practices that have been integral to the creation of this project.
*The festival takes place from May to September 2023 at the Green Island White Terror Memorial Park and Green Island, Taitung County, Taiwan.