Posted by: janeingramallen | April 19, 2013

First Week of the 2013 Cheng Long Wetlands International Environmental Art Project!

The artists arrived on Thursday, April 11, and most came on the HSR train to Chiayi Station at about 4PM. Here is a photo of some of the artists arriving in Cheng Long and moving their baggage into the houses where they will stay for the 25-day residency.

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The artists are also meeting their volunteers for the first time.  The Taiwanese volunteers for this project come from all over Taiwan, and all can speak English and are eager for cultural exchange as well as helping the artists make the artworks.

On Friday, April 12 we had breakfast together at one of the houses where artists stay in Cheng Long. Some of the artists had never used chopsticks before, so here is a photo of a lesson in how to use the chopsticks.

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After a meeting for introducing everyone, we went to the elementary school to meet the children.  Each artist will work with one class of children, and the children have been learning some English to communicate with the artists.  In the afternoon we visited the local recycling center so some artists could find recycled materials for their artworks.

On Saturday April 13, we had a tour of Cheng Long Wetlands, and the curator and artists agreed on the site for each of the 6 artworks.  Here is a photo of the group looking at the Wetlands.

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On Saturday afternoon we went to visit a bamboo master who makes chairs.  He showed us how to bend bamboo by heating it with a torch and how to join it easily.  Here is a photo of the bamboo master showing the artists some techniques for working with bamboo.

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Most of the artists have not worked with bamboo before, but use other materials in their country.  The Welcome Party was Saturday night, and all the village people and government sponsors were there to welcome this group of artists with a wonderful “pot luck” dinner of local foods.  After the dinner, the artists each made a presentation about their artwork and what they are planning to make in Cheng Long Wetlands.

On Sunday, April 14, we took a trip to the mountains in eastern Yunlin County to see another bamboo master and also to see a wonderful bamboo forest.  Here is a photo of the bamboo master showing us some techniques for working with green bamboo and another photo shows the bamboo forest and tall bamboo growing in this part of Taiwan.

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It was raining for most of the day,  but everyone watched closely and had a great time seeing the mountains and so much bamboo.  It took almost 2.5 hours to drive there to see the bamboo forest and the bamboo master, but it was a great chance to see a very different part of Taiwan.

On Monday, April 15, all the artists and volunteers went to the nearby seashore to gather recycled bamboo and other discarded materials that they could use for their artworks.  Here is a photo of some of the group looking at the beach area to see what might be useful.

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Ya-chu and her volunteer collected some things to use for the Cyanotype images in her artwork; here you can see them carrying a large basket with many objects that were found at the seashore.

4:15 Yachu & volunteerbamboo and other collecting at Shi Bi harbor4603-small

Other artists and volunteers collected lots of bamboo poles that had been used for oyster farms and are now broken and washed up to shore.   Many of the artists are using some of this recycled bamboo to make their artworks.

4:15 bamboo and other collecting at Shi Bi harbor4343-small

On Tuesday, April 16, the order for new bamboo was delivered in Cheng Long.  Here is the truck loaded with bamboo arriving at the “red house” which is one of the main work spaces.

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Chao-mei had to check to make sure each artists got the right amount of bamboo, and then the bamboo was sorted and cut and moved to the different sites where the artists will begin making their artworks.

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Some children also came by after school to help the artists measure and cut bamboo.

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By Wednesday, April 17, all of the artists are hard at work at their sites or at the “red house” cutting and beginning the construction of their artworks.

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Taiwanese artist Chun is starting to move his bamboo for his artwork.

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Giorgio and Jane are looking at the bamboo poles that are the basic beginning structure of his first “Element” in the bird watching house at the Wetlands.

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Johan from Holland is starting to weave a large fish trap with split bamboo in his Wetlands “studio”.

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Michael from Germany is measuring and cutting bamboo with his volunteer.

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Michele from the USA is starting to tie many strings of oyster shells with her two volunteers. These oyster shells will make a barrier around her teahouse construction.

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This is the first side wall of the teahouse structure Michele is making in the Wetlands.

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Ya-chu and her volunteers are adding a tall bamboo pole to the old recycled chair for her installation in the Wetlands.

You could see the artworks starting to emerge in the landscape of the wetlands.  The artists are trying to make the artworks strong and secure and without any metal wire or nails or screws so there are many problems to solve.  It is a challenge to make artwork that is big and strong and that is still all natural and can dissolve over time back into nature with no harm to the environment.

Check back to see all the progress and the finish of these works by May 3 for the press conference and official opening ceremony.  There will also be public activities (DIY) with the artists on May 4 and 5!

Many thanks to all the artists, volunteers, staff and children for a great first week!

Jane Ingram Allen, Curator


Responses

  1. this landscape is environment controlled and occupied by mankind who are now the stuarts of it. So the decision is to work with the nature but also watch the ‘art’ from being art or blight. When the work looks bad and beyond the concept of ART. restore it, fix it, or remove it.

  2. Hi Roy, Thanks for your comment! We have removed some of the artworks that are in a place that artists from the next year want to use, but we believe that there is “art” even in the remains of the works and it shows the history of this project. Also, it makes visitors and residents aware of the natural processes of birth, life and decay and that even “art” outdoors in the environment must comply with this cycle. New artworks emerge each year and some artists even use parts of the old artworks and recycle them again. I think your artwork has lasted better than any, and it is from the first year, 2010. It still looks great. I took many photos of all the remains of the artworks from past years, and I plan to make a Blog entry to show these remains for the artists and the public to see how the artworks change over the years. If the artists use only natural materials that can biodegrade without harming the environment, then the artwork becomes an example of the natural cycle of life. It is an interesting way to think about “art.”


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