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Ghosts on an Island- Solo Exhibition by Shake

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Post date:2018-06-05

Updates:2019-09-09

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Ghosts on an Island- Solo Exhibition by Shake
Event Time
2018-06-09~2018-08-05
Event Location
NO.39 Chang-An West Road MOCA Studio, Datong Dist., Taipei City Taiwan, R.O.C
“But it’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then,” said Alice after her experience in Wonderland.

If historical writing and the creation of narrative are inseparable, it means the element of imagination and fiction is always involved in the process as present reality becomes history. When Hayden White proposed the concept that the process of historical construction is similar to literary creation, and constructed a comparison between historical writing and fiction, the boundary between literature and history was eliminated altogether. Past incidents and events, in his opinion, exist in a state of quantum superposition, and only the participation of narrators (observers) can render them meaningful and part of history. In recent years, Shake has appropriated various types of archives as her narrative materials in the attempt to represent Taiwanese historical experience through cinematic writing and narrative experiment. From a history-making international treaty to popular music, these archives possess both realistic and fictional elements and excite her narrative imagination.

Two video works featured in the exhibition, Return and Taipei Park, are created in the form of portrait painting, respectively drawing inspiration from Taiwanese cinema and literature to delineate and represent Taiwanese people from different eras. Through these cinematic or literary characters, we can observe the appearance and spirit of Taiwanese society and culture in the past. Subduction Zone adopts the theme of the relationship between Taiwan’s unique geographic environment and geopolitics. An Unsinkable Aircraft Carrier makes use of historical images, words from an international treaty and Taiwanese literature as materials. Whether it is transforming the text of the treaty that have defined Taiwan’s status quo since the Second World War into artificial voiceover echoing above a volcanic crater, or animating the historical images of the bombing of Zuoying Harbor by the US air force, the artist has shown us a way of reading through transforming texts, using an alternative perceptual route to depict Taiwan’s geopolitics and cultural history.

The process of re-organizing and narrating these historical events and fictional texts is similar to observing the past and existence of this Island, and participating in the history that we never really had a chance to experience. Therefore, the questions we should be asking are: What is the connection between these past events and our present? How do they factor into the construction of our knowledge system, and influence our reality now?

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