A homeland story: across the strait
colour digital video, sound
‘A homeland story: across the strait’ is the last of the trilogy, with ‘A complete story: between the strait’ and ‘A love story: between the strait,’ that looks into the diaspora in 1949 as a result/end of the Chinese Civil War. The Nationalists moved two million individuals from China to Taiwan who then have settled ever since, although initially they believed they would return to China soon. In this video, the artist as the third generation negotiates her family Nationalist past and contemporary reality.
The footage was filmed at a theme park built in the style of Nationalist time originally for a film, during the artist’s trip to Chongqing, China in 2017. Coming from a Nationalist background, the artist was in a sense looking for her root in Chongqing, the city from which her maternal grandparents came to Taiwan. Clearly, the Nationalist time was no more. Yet in this theme park the Nationalist history was re-staged, at least visually, from restaurants and signs to rickshaw and costume to hire. The presence of the excited fellow tourists and implied nostalgia provoked a meditation on time and history, given the cultural and historical oddity of having the Nationalist past as a visual decoration and background for the purpose of leisure.
The artistic strategy of reversing the footage is to explore the (im)possibility to return to history. Alongside the visual, the artist narrates texts about city, past and memory from literary sources.
© 2022 CLARE CHUN-YU LIU