TreeTreeTreePerson Residency Sheaf+Barley
a guest Jan 8th, 2018 39 Never
- Scroll down for English. Mandarin translation by Li, Shang-Chiao
- 和台灣產生連結之前，我們以外籍藝術家的身分獲邀，將以山林和環境為題進行創 作。於花蓮駐村至今約兩星期，我們與曾經居住於山間的太魯閣原住民一起生活。
- 歷史摘要:西元 1600 初期，台灣曾受荷蘭殖民統治，該政權曾召引來自中國的漢人 進行屯墾。1895 至 1945 年進入日據時期，太魯閣原住民成為奴工，被迫在山中開闢 道路，僅能以番薯和蒜頭充飢。如今這些道路成為觀光客的登山步道。
- 1980 年政府強制將部落遷至山腳，並將大片土地轉售給亞洲水泥，允許其於山間開 採，而太魯閣原住民則必須向銀行貸款以購買遷居後的新家園。而後，台灣政府規劃 國家公園區域，意味著狩獵、伐木和農事都將不被允許。過去兩年，政府承諾將重視 原住民議題，然而實際上卻是繼續從旅遊項目營利。
- 從早到晚，我們和這些原民朋友聊天，聽他們的故事和想法。我們發現部落分裂為: 將土地售給政府和亞洲水泥進行開採的一派，以及拒絕出售土地的一派;配合政府以 求生活能好轉的一派，以及拒絕合作的一派;在山上出生的世代，以及在城裡成長的 世代。不同的派系都在掙扎取得多數，籠罩在這團混沌之上是政府和礦業系統性地破 壞居民生活的方式。太魯閣原住民承受企業和國家掛鉤的恐怖主義，在號稱民主、開 放以及支持原民議題的國家中，被奪去所有權利。這個壓倒性的經驗，讓我們感到難 以承受。
- 我們本來應該關注山林和國家公園等主題，根據駐村經驗創作。但我們將不會針對國 家公園的『原始自然』進行創作，這是政府對於原住民的存在所傳遞的迷思。我們是 來自英國的兩位藝術家，再一個月就會回到英國。我們目睹這場文化滅絕和資本破 壞，認為也許有必要向歐洲和美國民眾反映，但擔憂了解不夠透徹，包含以西方人士 的身分是否有資格做這件事。
- 微觀的層面上，我們能做的，是以簡單的勞動協助一位年邁友人。這是為這位慷慨提 供食宿和時間的朋友，我們實際能做的、象徵意義上的小事。然而山上的勞動在我們短暫的停留後不會停止，我們的做為不是一勞永逸的解決方式。也許藝術在其他層次 上能提供幫助，對於這些居民的日常負擔卻無法產生更多影響。
- 宏觀的層面上，我們需要徹底的改變。目前在台北有原住民抗爭運動駐紮，我們有幸 和他們見面(感謝一起陪原住民族劃出回家的路將近期的訴求清單提供給我們: https://tinyurl.com/ydd5u4m8)。我們將在台南和台北的藝廊展出，隨後將回到駐村 的小鎮。回國後我們仍然可以延續既有的平台，創作不會在駐村結束後停止。
- 關於現階段的創作，我們不希望代替任何人的發表意見，或假設我們能夠理解居民的 掙扎。與原民運動者和藝術家見面後，我們希望提供在台北和台南的展出空間，期待 能夠合作或是讓原民藝術家有機會展出，因為我們留意到沒有原住民藝術家參與這次 的駐村活動。
- 我們設計了虛構的亞洲水泥廣告，引用總裁所說的話，接下來也許會印製成可以在台 北和台南發放的貼紙。而最後一場和 25 位觀眾上山的演出，我們會利用這個機會幫山 中的居民背運物資。目前所有創作內容都還在初步階段。
- 『在國家公園成立之前生活沒有那麼難， 山和海提供我們全部的生活所需。』(73 歲的太魯閣婦女)
- 『我們告訴政府事情需要有所改變，他們 承諾後什麼也沒做。』(70 多歲的太魯閣婦女)
- 『他們可以炸山且偷走我們的土地，我卻 沒辦法為旅社蓋第二層樓。』(70 多歲的太魯閣婦女)
- 『大家不再相信彼此，金錢捲入後，猜忌 更深。』(40 多歲的太魯閣男子)
- 『我們搬到這裡之前，大家是互相信賴 的。』(80 多歲的太魯閣婦女)
- 『我不想再回到山上，太多痛苦的回 憶。』(80 多歲的太魯閣婦女)
- 『我們不想學太魯閣語，我們想說中 文。』(21 歲在台北工作的太魯閣男子)
- "As soon as money is involved, distrust grows" - Truku man (we have been advised to keep people’s identities anonymous)
- We’ve been on this residency for two weeks so far in Hualien, Taiwan. We were invited as Western artists living and working in the West with no connection to Taiwan to make work about the mountains of the surrounding area. We're living with the members of the Truku, an Indigenous tribe who used to live in the mountains.
- Some history: Taiwan was originally colonised by the Dutch, who invited mainland Chinese Han people to cultivate the land in the 1600s. In the Japanese occupation of Taiwan from 1895 to 1945 the Truku were used as slave labour, forcing them to build roads in the mountain and only allowing them to eat sweet potato and raw garlic; these roads are now the tourist hiking paths. In 1980 the KMT government forcefully relocated the villages to a town purpose-built at the foot of the mountain and sold a large amount of land to the Asia Cement mining company who started to mine the mountain. The Truku people had to take out loans from the bank to buy these houses that had been built for them. The Taiwanese government then created a national park, which means that hunting, timber-cutting and farming are either banned or prohibited. In the last two years the government has been promising greater commitment to Indigenous struggle, which manifests itself mainly in greater infrastructure for tourism.
- We have spent long days and nights sitting, eating and drinking with people here, listening to their stories and opinions. What we've found is a town divided. It is divided between people who have sold their land to the government and to the Asia Cement factory which is levelling the mountains of the area and those who refuse to sell. It is divided between people who collaborate with the government to make life easier and those who don’t. It is divided between the generation born and raised on the mountain and the generations born in the town. Different paradigms struggle for dominance. What overhangs this all is the comprehensive and systematic destruction of a way of life and people by the work of a government in collaboration with an industrial mining complex. The Truku people are experiencing corporate state terrorism, stripped of any rights in a country which claims to be democratic, open, and supportive of Indigenous struggle. It is difficult to hold this all together because it is overwhelming to experience.
- We're supposed to be making art about this experience, especially about the mountain and the national park. We will not be making work about the 'untouched nature' of the national park, a myth propagated by the national government against the existence of Indigenous people. We are two artists from England who will return to England in a month when the residency is over. To witness the struggle against this cultural genocide and the devastation of capital is also to be shown in stark terms the vastness of our own privilege. We feel that perhaps we need to reflect somehow this situation to people in Europe and the United States, but we wonder if we have the understanding let alone the legitimacy as two Western people to do so.
- On a micro level there are things that can be done - for example lending what little skill and ability in labour we have to assist an older friend who could do with some extra pairs of hands. It is quite literally the very least we can do for people who have sheltered us, fed us, and spent their time with us. In reality this is only tokenistic: the work is never ending, it will continue far past our short stay in the mountains, it is not a permanent solution. And yet whilst art can maybe help on other levels, it will do little to help this person in their day to day burdens.
- On a macro level what is needed is a permanent change. There is a vocal Indigenous Rights movement in Taiwan based in Taipei who we have met with (a recent list of demands were given to us by Indigenous Transformative Justice Taiwan, who we thank: https://tinyurl.com/ydd5u4m8). We are showing work in galleries in Tianan and Taipei, as well as work back in the town we are staying in. We can also use our platforms back home. This work doesn’t need to end when the residency does.
- As regards to work we’re making, we do not wish to speak on behalf of anyone or presume to understand the struggles people face. We’ve met with Indigenous activists and artists and offered our platforms in Taipei and Tainan to use the space as they wish to, either in collaboration with us or by themselves. We notice that no Indigenous people have been invited to participate in this residency. We have designed faux-adverts for Asia Cement quoting their director saying despicable things, which we may turn into stickers to be used around Taipei and Tainan. For our final walk up the mountain with 25 audience members, we will use the opportunity to carry up goods for people who live in the villages. Everything is in its early stages.
- Finally, some translated quotes from the many conversations we've had:
- "Before the National Park things weren't as hard, we had everything we needed in the mountain and the sea" (73 year old Truku woman)
- "We tell the government that things have to change and they agree and still do nothing" (70-something Truku woman)
- "They can blow up the mountains and steal our land but I cannot put a second floor on my guesthouse" (70-something Truku woman)
- "Everyone distrusts one another. As soon as money is involved, distrust grows" (40-something Truku man)
- "People used to trust each other before we moved here" (80-something Truku woman)
- "I don't want to go up to the mountain anymore, there are too many bad memories" (80 year-old Truku woman)
- "We don't want to learn Truku, we want to speak Mandarin" (21 year-old Truku man who lives and works in Taipei)
- We'd also like to specifically thank Shang, who's been a guide, translator, and co-collaborator.
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