This weekend June 18 and 19, the two Taiwanese artists and some volunteers and community people returned to Cheng Long Wetlands to repair the artworks that have been damaged and moved around by the recent typhoons and strong winds. Cheng Long Wetlands has changed a lot since we installed the artworks in April and had the opening of the 2011 Cheng Long Wetlands International Environmental Art Project on April 30 and May 1.
The water level is much higher now. Lots of heavy rain and strong winds have caused some artworks to fall over and others to float around to new locations in the wetlands. First we went around to look at all the artworks and tried to decide what would be the best thing to do after all the changes.
Now Hsin-yu Huang’s work “Let’s Nest” has several nests lying in the water and some bending over. This all looks very natural and interesting, and the birds seem to love it! We decided to leave it and let the birds have new resting places on the “nests” that have fallen over. It is still a very impressive and eye-catching installation, and this work seems to adapt well to the changing conditions.
Firmen Djamil’s “Cheng Long Spiral” artwork is still standing strong in the wetlands. Some of the spiral is in the water now, and the higher end does not come to the land any more since the water level is so much higher. Some of the plants still look green and living on Firman’s work, and we hope things will continue to grow there.
Karen Macher’s “Floating Garden” really floated away with the rising water levels, and it came to rest near the land close to Hsin-yu’s work at the front part of the Wetlands. All of the plants were dead because of the high winds and too much water or too much sun. The volunteers and community helpers replanted the “Floating Garden” with stronger more resistant plants (sea purslane and dragon fruit). While we were replanting the plants, we found some baby mice living in one of the planters. Since we had moved the artwork, we moved the baby mice to somewhere nearby in the shade and hope their mother can find them!
Rumen Dimitrov’s “Flying Boats” are still “flying” over the wetlands and look almost the same except the water level is now much higher, and some poles that support the boats are bending over a bit. One boat that was the lowest and closest to the water had fallen over. We tried to just stand it up again, but the bamboo poles were too weak to hold the boat since it is much heavier now from soaking in the water. Then, we tried to stand the poles in the water again, but some bamboo poles broke when we tried to put the boat back. At last, we decided to stand the bow, the heaviest part of the boat, on the land, and we think that this might be the best way to keep the boat from falling down again. Repairing this artwork was more difficult than we thought. I think we did Karen’s garden in 30 minutes, but for Rumen’s it took over one hour. All of the boats are “flying” again and some of the plants inside the boats seem to be green and living.
Julie Chou’s artwork “Returning to the Sea” also moved around with the high winds and rising water. Some of the starfish structures were resting close to the main road. The local fire department men went into the Wetlands and pulled the middle one back between the biggest and smallest one. Then we tied the middle starfish to an old electric pole that is nearby in the wetlands. Also, we put a rope to link the middle and the biggest starfish. After making sure the intervals between the 3 starfish are the same (viewing from the main road), we adjusted the middle one, so that people can see the 3 starfish in a line from the signpost. Julie wanted to again line them up so that the 3 starfish shapes are getting progressively smaller as they go toward the setting sun. We also checked the little starfish that Julie made first. This one is anchored with several iron poles closer to the land, and we believe that the little starfish has found the best place in the wetland. It will not move unless there is a super big flood. There are also some plants still green on the little starfish.
The artwork structures all look strong, and it is good to see that the artists have made their works well to withstand the changing weather conditions in Cheng Long. I think we can expect more typhoons and maybe more rising water in the wetlands over the summer. We hope things will still look good when visitors come to see the artworks. As environmental artworks we can appreciate this art as changing and adapting to the environment and not expect it to always stay the same.
Keep checking back to see how the 2011 works continue to change over time.