Sea Forest: Mangroves 2023
Rough cut, 4K video, 6’40”
Digital print on paper, dimensions variable
New project in progress Sea Forest by Yu-Chen Wang explores Taiwan's hydrological landscapes and the highly diverse ecosystem of mangroves
Yu-Chen Wang has a longstanding interest in exploring the relationship between technological advancement, human progress, and the complexity of human impacts on the environment. Over the past two years, she has created a series of works in response to the history of coal mining in the UK and the use of peatlands for agriculture and fuel, addressing the crises triggered by carbon emissions, depletion of natural resources, and biodiversity loss.
In the summer of 2023, the artist undertook field research along the west coast of Taiwan, focusing on the estuaries of the Tamsui River, the Zhuoshui River and the Zengwen River. She delved into the historical context of hydrological landscapes, exploring the highly diverse ecosystem of mangroves. The project investigates how this unique sea forest faces habitat destruction due to human development; how the large-scale artificial afforestation of the 1980s, under Water Resources Agency policies, contributed to the current ecological imbalance. Consequently, the ongoing removal of mangroves has emerged as an environmental issue, particularly in defence of Taiwan's endemic species, the fiddler crab (Uca formosensis). However, mangroves provide ecosystem services such as stabilising coastlines, preventing erosion, purifying water, wind protection, and reducing the impact of storm surges. More importantly, they serve as a crucial carbon sink and have climate-regulating functions. This is a nature-based response strategy that is urgently needed globally and cannot be ignored in the face of climate change.
Sea Forest is an ongoing project and the first stage of work-in-progress has been shown at the exhibition Writing About Change in Solid Art, Taipei. Curated by Hung-Fei Wu, the exhibition is part of the Citing Bar, a platform exploring environmental humanities, sustainability and feminism.
25 Nov 2023 - 20 Jan 2024
Solid Art, Taipei
23 Sept 2023
Solid Art, Taipei
*In collaboration with Nan-Jay Wang (camera), Capitol K (sound)
*Special thanks to Professor Sheue, Chiou-Rong and Professor Lin, Hsing-Juh, both from the Department of Life Sciences at the National Chung Hsing University in Taichung, Taiwan, and artist I-Chen Kuo.