There Is Another Capital Beneath the Waves

The exhibition There Is Another Capital Beneath the Waves is a project jointly initiated by artists Chia-Wei Hsu, Ting-Tong Chang, and Hsien-Yu Cheng in 2020. It focuses on the sugar industry in Taiwan during the Japanese colonial period and traces the historical relationship and memories of modernization between Taiwan and Japan through contemporary visual creations and traditional puppetry performances. The exhibition reflects on the complex relationships between colonizers and the colonized, as well as between manipulators and the manipulated.
The exhibition was first held at Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (YCAM) in Japan last June in collaboration with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan and the National Culture and Arts Foundation. From 4th May to 30th June this year, it will be showcased at the Hong-Gah Museum, featuring the video installation works Crystal Seeding and There is another capital beneath the waves.
Crystal Seeding is set against the backdrop of modern history in Huwei. In 1909, a Dai-Nippon Seito sugar factory was built, which propelled Huwei to develop significantly with the sugar industry at its core. However, during World War II, Huwei served as a base for the Kamikaze airfield, becoming a target of attacks by the U.S. forces. Toward the end of the Pacific War, Japan faced fuel shortages and ordered the sugar factory to develop and produce high-purity alcohol that could be used as airplane and vehicle fuel. Crystal Seeding vividly depicts the modern memories centered around the sugar industry in Huwei through the music played by musicians at the sugar factory and the traditional Taiwanese Glove Puppetry. The Taiwanese Glove Puppetry performed in Crystal Seeding is an adaptation of Kurama Tengu (written by Osaragi Jiro) and translated by the artists. Kurama Tengu was performed during the Japanese colonial rule as part of the attempted Japanization of the population. Crystal Seeding premiered at the C-LAB Future Media Arts Festival in 2021.
There Is Another Capital Beneath the Waves shifts its focus to Moji and Moji Port in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. Moji was once the site of the Dai-Nippon Seito sugar factory (currently operated by Kanmon Seito company) and was located along the maritime route transporting the raw sugar produced in Taiwan to Japan. Moji Port was also a stopover for foreign ships heading to Kobe and Yokohama, making it one of Japan’s leading international ports. The work’s title is derived from The Tale of the Heike, the chapter titled Drowning of the Emperor, describes the desperate Taira no Tokiko threw herself and the young Emperor Antoku into the sea, comforting him by saying “There is another capital beneath the wave” in the Battle of Dan-no-ura. Dan-no-ura, where the decisive clash between the clans took place, is a bay in the Kanmon Straits, with Moji on the opposite shore. There Is Another Capital Beneath the Waves is a collaboration between the three artists and YCAM, using the Japanese traditional puppet theater art form, Joruri, to revisit the wartime and modern memories of Moji and Moji Port. In the Hong-Gah Museum, the work is presented in the form of a video installation.
Huwei and Moji are connected in both works through the development of the sugar industry, wartime memories, and modern history. By the Taiwanese Glove Puppetry and Joruri, the intricate interplay between the puppeteers and the puppets, the manipulators and the manipulated are depicted. History is characterized by the recurring emergence of energies that produce this relationship.
The opening events will take place at the Hong-Gah Museum and C-LAB. On 4th May (Sat.), there will be an artist talk and performance featuring internationally renowned Gidayu-bushi Yumiko Tanaka, Japanese artist / experimental musician Richi Owaki, Hong Kong composer Tak-Cheung Hui, and Taiwanese percussionist Rho-Mei Yu. On 5th May (Sun.), the two artists Chia-Wei Hsu and Ting-Tong Chang will share their international collaboration experience with YCAM at C-LAB. Additionally, the four international performers will present a second performance that evening. During the exhibition, a series of guided tours with the artists and professionals will be introduced to the audiences to experience the show from various perspectives and to contemplate the intertwined issues inside the works.
※ The two exhibited works, Crystal Seeding and There Is Another Capital Beneath the Waves, totaling approximately 70 minutes, will be screened in sequence and alternately at the following times:
10:30 / 11:40 / 12:50 / 14:00 / 15:10 / 16:20

【Opening Events】

■ Opening Performance & Talk

4th May 2024 (Sat.) 14:00 – 16:30
Hong-Gah Museum | Admission Free
Performer: Yumiko Tanaka, Richi Owaki, Tak-Cheung Hui, Rho-Mei Yu
Speaker: Yumiko Tanaka, Richi Owaki, Tak-Cheung Hui
Moderator: Ting-Tong Chang
■ Opening Reception
4th May 2024 (Sat.) 16:30 – 18:30
Hong-Gah Museum | Admission Free

■ Confluence, Resonance and Connection: Experience Sharing on Global Art Production
by Val Lee, Ting-Tong Chang and Chia-Wei Hsu

5th May 2024 (Sun.) 16:00 – 18:00
C-LAB Gray Box | Admission Free
Speakers: Val Lee, Ting-Tong Chang, Chia-Wei Hsu
Moderator: Wei-Tzu Chuang (the curator of C-LAB)

■ Performance

5th May 2024 (Sun.) 18:30 – 20:00 incl. 30 mins post-show discussion
C-LAB Art Space I | Admission Free
Performer: Yumiko Tanaka, Richi Owaki, Tak-Cheung Hui, Rho-Mei Yu

Organizer: Chew’s Culture Foundation, Hong-Gah Museum
Collaborator: Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab (C-LAB)
Sponsors: Ministry of Culture Taiwan, Department of Cultural Affairs, Taipei City Government

Opening|2024.05.04 (Sat.) 14:00 – 18:30
Venue|Hong-Gah Museum
※ The works on view, Crystal Seeding and There Is Another Capital Beneath the Waves, totaling approx. 70 minutes, will be screened in sequence and alternately at the following times:
10:30 / 11:40 / 12:50 / 14:00 / 15:10 / 16:20