The print studio and specimen room–did exist in 20th century
2020 / 版畫裝置、草人裝置、標本裝置
2020 / print installation, straw man installation, specimen installation
The Libera work-gang was founded at the end of 2018 by a group of people working in the fields of art, academia, and various other industries, and its mission is “to console forgotten souls and to revive the spirits of contemporary people.” The artwork, 3 Rooms, was presented in the 2019 Green Island Human Rights Arts Festival as the collective’s art manifesto.
For this year, the Libera work-gang is presenting its latest work, The Print Studio and Specimen Room, with two rooms chosen with specific intentions assigned to each. Unique perspectives are opted for each room, with the Print Studio showing the perspective of the people and the state perspective in the Specimen Room. The arrangement is used to present different points of view and disparaging narratives for White Terror. The subheading, Did Exist in 20th Century, is from the final letter written by CHIU Hsing-Sheng before he was executed on June 18th, 1952. CHIU, who was a teacher at the Nei-Li Primary School, wrote in this final letter to his mother, “My twenty-some odd years are wiped clean just like a dream. But your son, Hsing-Sheng, truly did exist in the 20th century and died on June 17th, 1952. I had joy, pain, and worked hard, and for the very least, did something while alive in this world.” The phrase, “did exist in the 20th century” echoed deeply with the Libera Work-gang and became the subheading of this artwork.
This artwork by the Libera work-gang is built on a White Terror narrative, with emphasis placed on ethical dimension and the trauma of seeing someone else get executed and killed. It uses an approach of narrative through agency to reinstate the subject. In other words, through reconstructing, recreating the Print Studio, a new collective narrative is composed. On the other hand, the Specimen Room is where reality is cutoff and truth is concealed, with the state narrative which holds violent tendencies presented for contrast. It brings to light the hidden marks and imprints in life that were made by the one that “had joy, pain, and worked hard, and for the very least, did something while alive in this world.” It allows his existence to be revalidated, with a collective memory and communal narrative formed based on the ethical dimension of duty and responsibility.