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The “House of Art” while war is just around the corner

post: 2013/02/21

Artists from four countries gathered and interaction arose among us. This is very interesting for me and the r:ead project raises my spirit. For example, as the Taiwanese artist Chia-En Jao and I are both racially Chinese, we had common topics to talk about, such as ancestors, culture, the Chinese Civil War of the past, the current process of democratization in both regions, and so on. We feel that we would like to understand mutually the circumstances of each other and the present situation of suffering caused by the “individual” and “society”. I was very attracted by the work of Jisun Kim, the Korean artist. I wonder what her real motive is. Is it to make society better? Or is it to show that one had the ability to defeat the monstrous authority that is the state, just like how rats can bring an elephant down? I felt a sense of intimacy towards the Japanese artist, Meiro Koizumi, as we have a common awareness and face the same difficulties. I was strongly impressed by his work and greatly stimulated.

In the next term of r:ead, I wish to deepen the interaction and the discussion we had in December. In the process, many questions should be brought up. I am curious what personalities appear in crucial moments or during situations of urgency. For example, would I kill others if a war occurred? Can people behave gentlemanly even when an earthquake occurs?

I would choose “beings full of life” over empty “justice” and “humanity”. Things I approve of as art belong to life experience that is lived. Therefore I would surely participate in war even if others and my reason tell me how sinful war is and how it can make you inhuman. Americans think they are the ones who maintain peace and justice, but of course I would not go abroad and start a war like they have done.

At this crucial time of deepening confrontation between the Chinese and Japanese governments, pure artists like us can debate seriously, just like students, whether art can prevent war. This is because we are all each of us individuals and understand that each of us is not representing our own countries. Furthermore, for us, there is only one “country” which we call “art”. In this “country”, relying on just the rule and discipline of art, each individual develops relationships sincerely.

After the session in December, I edited a short film about what I felt. I am intending to make a documentary about r:ead.