_______what we cannot say
2020 / 行為藝術錄像 / 多頻道循環
2020 / performance art video / multi-channel loop
This work aims to enable the public to experience the feelings of political victims in a contemporary setting that is already completely different from that of the past.
The work consists of two prison cells. The participants first gather in the first cell. When their names are called out by the guard (artist), they need to one by one silently make “a gesture of farewell” to other participants and leave the cell. The called-out participants are gathered in the second cell to view the video of the documented “gestures of farewell” performed by previous participants. After all the participants are called out and arrive at the second cell, the artist then guides them to explain their “gestures of farewell” in a chronological order, reconstructing the timeline of events taking place in the cell and engaging the participants in a discussion about their feelings in the process.
The participants’ “gestures of farewell” are also recorded in written words, which are posted on the corridor wall outside the second cell. The corridor serves as a surveillance site for the guard to monitor the cells. Whatever happens in the first cell is recorded and displayed in the corridor, symbolizing the external surveillance existed in the past while hinting at the fact that one can only know and imagine what has happened in the cell via the textual records from the outside.
Whereas the first cell functions as the site of gestures and departures, the second one serves as a site of recording and revisiting the past. The outside corridor wall bears written records of what happens inside the cell. LIN Tzu- Nin hopes to provide a situation for the participants to compare their experience with that of past political victims.
I am Taiwanese
2020 / 行為藝術錄像 / 多頻道循環
2020 / performance art video/multi-channel loop
創作 Artist｜林子寧 LIN Tzu-Ning
攝影 Videographer｜洪瑋伶 HUNG Wei-Ling、辛佩宜 XIN Pei-Yi、潘志偉 PAN Chih-Wei
剪接 Editor｜林蔚圻 LIN Wei-Chi
地點 Location｜白色恐怖綠島紀念園區 The Green Island White Terror Memorial Park、白色恐怖景美紀念園區 The Jing-Mei White Terror Memorial Park
This work is performed on the first floor of Bagua Building, and engages the public to participate. The performer first reads “Taiwanese history as well as historical events that took place in Taiwan on the dates of the performance (May 18 to 24).” Whenever the performer says “Taiwan,” the public is invited to interrupt the performance by uttering sounds or making sound-producing movements. When the performer finishes reading the text, she then pricks hidden color packs with a needle and thread, dying her clothes with colors. Afterwards, she removes her clothes to reveal her body wrapped with then colored bandage, and speaks into the microphone, “I am Taiwanese” before cutting open the bandage. After the performance, the colored clothes and the removed bandage are brought to the confinement chamber in Section 3 on the first floor. More and more objects will be added into the space as the performance takes place every day. Meanwhile, the performance video is shown throughout the exhibition period.
LIN Tzu-Nin conceives this performance to express the “muting” of the identity of “Taiwanese,” which results in “the wounded self-identity.” Between the individual and the collective, the oppressor and the oppressed, the work aims to show that there is a possibility that these roles can switch under different circumstances.
Identity, regardless of its kind, is never an indicator of one’s nature, but a constantly and fluidly changing, redefined narrative. Similarly, the muting of any identity narrative is caused by the narrative that rationalizes violence. There are as many possible narratives of Taiwanese as there are physical bodies; and these narratives are never fixed but always in a state of change.
This work invites the public to experience how an oppressor or an oppressed feels with simple movements. By doing so, it encourages the public to reflect on the fact that everyone can inadvertently become the victim or the abuser when it comes to the identity of an individual or a community.