2020 / 彩色有聲錄像、投影裝置
2020 / video (color, sound), projecting installation
Numbers is a work of video art by TSAI Charwei, in which she writes the numbers from 1 to 9 on ice cubes with ink. As the ice melts, these numbers gradually become illegible and end up in a blend of ink and water. These ice cubes eventually disappear without trace. However, the ink, which had once existed and now has dried, still leaves faintly discernible yet indelible imprint somewhere and sometime.
TSAI invokes the metaphor of “ice cube” to highlight the callousness of governance. Innocent lives were persecuted and taken in a way like the melting ice. Applying the natural phase transition from ice to water, the artist makes a veiled insinuation against the state monopoly of legitimate violence as merciless as anonymous. These numbers not only insinuate the dehumanization of prisoners who had no name but abstract numbers without specific meanings, but also represent the units of time such as day, month and year, viz., the amount of time that innumerable innocent inmates had spent waiting for trial and release. These numbers refer to “quantity” as well. The number of political prisoners in jail may be finite, yet the “prisoners outside prison” are too many to count.
This work has broader significance apart from the apparent connotation explicated in the description above. The external, physical “disappearance” seems to leave no trail. However, ice can melt into liquid water, and liquid water can turn into invisible water vapor, and vice versa. This is not only an endless natural cycle but also an indisputable truth. Meanwhile, the anonymous entities could be prisoners deprived of their subjectivity, the “aggregation of the multitude,” or even the “gathering of evil spirits,” which carries a double meaning of resistance and return. The multitude’s witness and assembly mark the recovery from the historical trauma and the moment of truth, while the return of the old demons implies that the cruel history may repeat itself. This work Numbers and her other work Songs We Carry (A short version of three projects) build a pair of contrasting works together. The life situation of the anonymous entities in the former work and the people singing in the latter work are identical.
特別感謝 Special thanks to：楊翠女士 YANG Tsui
Songs We Carry (A short version of three projects)
2017~2018 / 彩色有聲錄像 / 18分鐘
2017~2018 / video (color, sound) / 18 mins
In times of tragedy or jubilation, in poverty or wealth, we all have songs that we carry with us. And no matter where we come from, all human beings share this. We may not speak the same language or share the same culture, and we may have come from vastly different experiences in life, but when we hear someone singing we immediately connect. We understand each other’s suffering and joy. This is the purpose of this project. The three videos showcase three vastly different situations and human conditions - displaced earthquake victims of Nepal, women detainees and asylum seekers in UK, and laborers on fishing vessels docked in Kaohsiung Harbor, but they are all linked to each other and to us through songs.
In collaboration with Tsering Tashi Gyalthang Three original videos:
Songs of Chuchepati Camp, 2017
Gear her singing, 2017
Songs of the Migrant Workers of Kaohsiung Harbor, 2018