The formation of veteran villages could be dated back to 1949-1950, when the troops of Nationalist government retreated from Mainland China to Taiwan. The government built village-typed housing in various corners of Taiwan in order to take care of the lives of soldiers and their dependents and to meet the needs of the warfare with centralized management. A unique culture of veteran village was thus formed. After 1990s, owing to the dilapidated infrastructure, the residents move from the veteran villages to the apartments of public housing one after another.
This photography project is to capture the family space of the modern military dependents' housing in Chiayi County, Taiwan. The origin of shooting this theme derives from the marketing of veteran village culture on the media in recent years. With the promotions of the diet and stories of veteran villages, the culture of veteran village seems to revive yet again in Taiwan. Nevertheless, the question of how the lives of these residents are after moving to the new public housing is rarely raised from the public. Due to the structural change of living environment as well as the aging of the residents, I wonder if the atmosphere of the old times still exists within the family space of the new veteran residence? How the so-called veteran village culture lives on within the high-rise buildings? I think….…few of us have the answer.
During the shooting process for two and a half months, I wrote in my journal:
“As I set foot in the house, I saw a sticker of the national flag of R.O.C. still hold on to the mirror on the wall, fighters land themselves in the TV cabinet, calligraphy brushes and inkstone sit on the desk, biography literature stand on the shelf, a map of Mainland China hang on the wall, and a kneaded dough rest in the kitchen… All of these appear to be no different from the impression toward the traditional veteran villages. Yet, what I could not turn my eyes away from are the piles of medicine bags, wheelchair and oxygen tanks mixed with the smell of old man. The antique furniture from the old veteran village are mixed with newly-acquired, cheap and simple furniture. And judged from the family photos on the wall, it is obviously that most of the offspring are now settled abroad. The relationship between an authoritative military man and his obedient dependent back in the days is gradually shifted to a patient and his caretaker. This is somewhere remote and aloof within the contemporary society of Taiwan, a heavy memory framed by the previous time, and a space filled with the afterglow of dusk.”