THE ISLAND 2015
Curated by Leslie Van Eyck as part of Chai Wan Mei Art & Design Festival
WING Platform for Performance, Hong Kong
Taiwan and the UK are both island territories, steeped in history, commerce, and an industrial past, and currently impacted by the speed and global pull of new technology. Yu-Chen’s residency in Hong Kong, another territory including islands of similar cultural and industrial weight, resulted in another original vision of the future. What if your island’s technology is so unusual that it is weighing everything down, to the extent that your island is sinking? Imagining a future in which this scenario is being recovered from a lost historical period, Yu-Chen developed a work set in the post-industrial setting of Chai Wan, in which carefully-costumed performers embodied the strange “measuring devices” used by a long-gone panicking population, attempting to calculate their Island’s speed of descent. Other fictional devices for survival, explained in an accompanying text and possibly referred to in wall-based drawings, included the use of the Islanders’ favourite foods to counteract the erosive power of the sea, and some exploration of the idea of making the Island mobile, in order to move it out of harm’s way. The Islanders may have taken a vote on what course of action to take. But it was all in the past… allowing contemporary visitors to wonder if it is all about to happen again, closer to home, in a slightly different form.