Up until recently, I used to work primarily with industrialized tech materials as a creative medium, attempting to use cold and unfeeling things to portray the relationship between people, objects, and the environment. Now I’m working with a mix of biological and nonbiological materials to express the sense of conflict between the two.
Motivation for this work began during my 2014 residency in Tokyo, Japan. I encountered seasons drastically different from my homeland of Taiwan, and the change in all things brought about by spring, summer, fall, winter, day, and night; the never-ending cycle of life. I recall meeting a floriculturist who said floral arts bring plants into the next phase of their lives. They are cut from the soil in the darkness, and these pruned flowers turn to face the sun as it rises in the morning, completing their most magical moment of beauty. This simultaneously cruel yet poetic depiction is another perspective of an object’s rebirth and redefining of existential meaning.
“Things have a life of their own. It's simply a matter of waking up their souls.” Gabriel García Márquez puts it thusly in One Hundred Years of Solitude.
All civilizations have similar descriptions of life’s changes and revival. The Bible says, “Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”, while Chinese legend depicts the Goddess Nuwa breathing life into mud figures and turning them into people. The breath of life is like a ray of light in the morning, a degree of warmth in the changing of seasons, awakening what was once dead. With industrialization, we now have a kilowatt, or a drop of oil spurring complex machines to action; external power as if by magic - life.
This creative project extends exploration of the link between biological and non-biological materials, further observing how external manmade forces guide living things. For this installation, I arranged for motors to move lines suspended on the plants, manipulating them like puppets, creating slow, refined movements. Through movement crudely imitating life, created by machine operation and changing of time, it gradually expresses a warped elegance both cruel and sad.