sound installation, dimensions variable, 2017
“The Ark” is a sound theatre work, assembled from filing cabinets borrowed from Reconstruction Department of the previous Taiwan Provincial Government. Produced in the 1960s, the grey metal cabinets are standardized and monotonous have become mottled and old through years of bureaucratic usage, like a vehicle that carries the tenor of the rapid transformations in Taiwan’s urban and rural landscape under the pressures of politics. The display of decommissioned iron cabinets is a minimalist sculpture, becoming waste products in aftermath of success within the mythology of economic development in the realistic context of a developing country.
Kuo Yu Ping collaborates with sound artist Yannick Dauby and actor Yang Q-Yin in this re-enactment of the renowned novel “I Love Black Eyes” by contemporary Taiwanese author, Chi Teng Sheng, weaves together a meticulous and uncanny narrative. The artist has removed the vintage files that filled the metal cabinets and replaced them with sound tracks. Through the theatrical layout, the work gently transmits the state of sensitivity and anxiety in post-war Taiwan. Just as the floods in the novel washed away societal law and order, the protagonist Li Lung-ti is caught between idealism and reality as he explores the sudden onslaught of issues of survival and decisions in life. Using “The Ark” as a symbol to the floodwater in the novel, the artist teases out the human aspiration for “existence” and pursuit of life’s meaning. The now-emptied filing cabinets provide a metaphor for the chapters in the history of modern life management. The floodwater that appear to relieve social etiquette and façade of pretense in human relations in order to restore the original and true guise of humanity to all, seem to overflow from the metal cabinetry to wash away the files that become ourselves.