»»As a Taiwanese video artist, I am interested in mixing a diverse array of local and foreign cultures together in my video work, which comes from my Taiwanese cultural roots. Taiwanese culture presents a hybrid socio-cultural complex of East and West culture, including aboriginal, Han chineseness, Japanese, European, American, and so on. Therefore, making art in a rural French village is such a romantic idea. This dream came true when I was awarded an artist residency at Centre D’Art – Marnay Art Centre, France (Camac) . The art-making experience in this remote countryside was thought-provoking and challenging for one who rarely ever leaves the spectacle of the city. Though it is an hour train ride to Paris from Marnay the city is far removed from the intensity of urban life. Instead one can freely wander by foot or bicycle across beautiful farmlands that vividly reflect French classical landscape paintings. Or, one could say that it was Marnay’s beautiful landscapes that attracted painters to create art there a couple of centuries ago.
The residency at Camac was, in reality, not as romantic as I thought it would be before I came. The first challenge I faced in my art making here was to figure out “how” I could adjust my existing creative approaches while situated in the conditions of isolation in Marnay. Because of the stunningly isolated location, I could explore the surrounding scenery without any urban rules. For example, you need permission to shoot outdoors in New York City, especially after 911. In Marnay, we freely worked on projects without any limitations. The experience of working in the natural sourrounding later transformed into my videos materials. Relocating temporarily in Marnay made me explore new cultural patterns through the Camac international community of artists and the authentic French culture outside Camac. My art-making experience was in a new situation. These challenges became opportunities for my fellow artists in residency to collaborate on, including work in visual and performance art, writing and photography, as well as artistic dialogue with the local environment. For instance, the Mexican photographer, Sebastian Portillo—from Morelia City (a UNESCO World Heritage Site)—and I worked together on many independent video and photograph projects. All these responses were done through email correspondence in December after we returned to our home cities.
In response to “I, Move”
In addition to Sebastian, Colombian writer Viviana Goelkel and Australian performance artist Nick Atkins helped me to carry out this video project. It seemed a crazy idea to have six old chairs on a countryside road and doing art. Before the shooting, Nick came up with a funny idea that we sat and applauded people who passed by us. It seemed nonsense. In terms of a theater, these six chairs formed an outdoor open theater. We were the spectators and watched people who passed by us as they were performers on a stage. The result came out that people were surprised first and left quickly while we applauded. Later, while I was working on testing shootings, a farmer drove a tractor and worked on his farm just right behind us. However he only did the first two rows of soil turning and then left. My assumption was that he might not want to disturb our shooting because of respecting the artists’ crazy creation.
In response to “Lovely Moving“
The temperature in Marnay on that day fell between 0°C-5°C. We shot this video in the morning. I requested that Sebastian wear a white shirt, take off his sneakers and walk slowly on the grass, which had a very thick coating of morning dew. After shooting, Sebastian told me, “I had very strange sensation. It is like something cut my feet. My feet are freezing cold.”(TBC)