Polyester, metal structure, 2021, Eindhoven
Collaberation with Kaijie Wei
Inspired by the oral tradition of Taiwanese indigenous peoples, who elongate the final syllable of "hen" (meaning "very" in Mandarin).
︎︎︎Inner view in the installation
They use this to describe the time or duration needed for something, such as "hennnnnnnn long" for a river or "hen long" for a period of time. In modern Taiwan, this is often seen as just a regional accent, but it was originally a language used by indigenous peoples to communicate time and spatial scales before the introduction of standard measurements. Before standardization, we relied on coordinates and comparative grading from our daily lives to measure time. For example, the time needed to cook a pot of rice or the difference in length between two bridges of varying distances. In this artwork, we attempt to recapture subjective human perception of time. Two tunnels made of different materials are designed to create different perceptions of time as people attempt to pass through them. The pink tunnel is crowded and opaque, filled with velvet-like material; the white tunnel is airy and soft, filled with lightweight cotton. Modernization has flattened our perception of time like a mold, making it accurate but cold, measured in seconds, minutes, and hours. The forgotten expression of time also reflects the marginalized indigenous culture, whose unique features were rendered meaningless by Japanese colonization and modernization. Their accent became a label for discrimination, consumed and ridiculed by the public.
copyright Shin Hua Yang, 2023