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Vanishing Ground Asialink Project – 2009

Kuandu Arts Festival
Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei, Taiwan
3 October to 25 October, 2009

Vanishing Ground Asialink Project – 2009

The video/object installation titled Vanishing Ground documents community life in public spaces in Taiwanese and Chinese cities. It examines the impact of expanding consumerism on communal spaces, particularly parks, that are central to cultural identity. The loss of public ground where group activities take place, such as water calligraphy, fan dancing, singing and Tai Chi, effects traditional recreational activities that link individual citizens to a sense of place and community.

The video component of Vanishing Ground draws on the traditional Chinese art of water calligraphy and the inscription of poetry in the form of Chinese characters using gigantic water brushes. In the heat of the day the characters slowly fade from the ground on which they were marked. This transient process of water calligraphy is a metaphor for the disappearance of unbranded community spaces within many major cities across Asia.

The object component of Vanishing Ground is inspired by the ancient Chinese art of funerary paper sculpture. Although a vanishing craft, the making and burning of paper objects that are associated with the deceased survives in Taiwan. Traditional paper sculptures envisage houses and spirit figures. Contemporary paper objects may include computers and mobile phones, providing the deceased with material goods in the hereafter.

Vanishing Ground_ Burning Ceremony
The paper sculptures constructed for the exhibition Vanishing Ground draw on the art of Taiwanese funerary paper sculpture, which is also disappearing. The burning ceremony, accompanied by pipa soloist Luo Chao Yun’s improvisations, is a gesture of respect for cultural traditions and activities that are vanishing from urban environments.

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