Critics’ Picks

Jun Yang, A Short Story on Forgetting and Remembering, 2007, HD video, color, sound, 20 minutes.

Jun Yang, A Short Story on Forgetting and Remembering, 2007, HD video, color, sound, 20 minutes.

Taipei

“Negative Horizon”

Hong-Gah Museum
11F, No. 166, Dàyè Road, Běitóu District
October 16, 2016–January 8, 2017

Connecting the materiality of film to corporeal life, “Negative Horizon” politically locates urgency where image touches skin. Concentrating mostly on the global South, the screen-based works in this exhibition interrogate the conditions of this contact and speculate possibilities of other histories and encounters.

In Jakarta-based artists Tita Salina and Irwan Ahmett’s disquieting installation, the video Inseparable Flakes, 2016, is projected onto a fragile screen made of skin collected from the children of indentured Indonesian fisherman, literalizing a site of trafficked images and real bodies. Through a montage of appropriated film and found WWII Japanese photography, Chung Li-Kao makes a rigorous case for how our collective images are totally subsumed by a mechanical and colonial apparatus. Exhibition curators Fang-Tze Hsu and Pei-Yi Lu also take this critical position in highlighting poetic and activist positions in various works.

In A Romantic Composition, 2015, Futoshi Miyagi reframes the longstanding US military occupation of Okinawa as an untold site of libidinal encounters by creating fictional narratives based on actual ethnographic research of postwar gay life at the US base and nightclubs. Set against the backdrop of nighttime Taipei, Jun Yang’s somnambulistic video meditation on memory further underlines the subjective ambivalence of place and image. In A Short Story on Forgetting and Remembering, 2007, the narrator asks of images of the past, “ What was real? What did we add, imagine or wish?”

The complexity of this experience best reveals itself on the back of a noisy motorcycle taxi traveling through the winding hills of Beitou. As part of an expanded project by Akira Takayama, viewers tour the conflicted vestiges of colonial Japanese and American quarters in this hot-springs resort area, guided by both a smart-phone app and a local driver—a theater of screen and body.