Behr, Bernd (2013) Chronotopia. [Art/Design Item]
|Type of Research:||Art/Design Item|
"Chronotopia" consists of a film with two simultaneous narrations in English and Taiwanese, the latter performed live during its premiere at the 55th Venice Biennale 2013.
Drawing associations between a number of distinct historical narratives related to Taiwan across the 20th Century, the film uses an architectural scenario to address the spectre of Lee Guang-Hui, an indigenous Taiwanese who had fought for the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II and remained isolated in the jungles of the Indonesian island of Morotai, believing the war had not ended until his discovery in 1974. Having survived for 30 years cut off from the rest of the world, his eventual repatriation to a new Taiwanese nation formed in the intervening years, and whose language he did not speak, highlighted his precarious existence seemingly outside history. His multiple names, including Teruo Nakamura in Japanese and Attun Palalin in his native Ami language, reflect the shifting constellation of spaces and subjectivities which make up the various temporalities within "Chronotopia".
Questions inherent in the projection of narrative onto a subject who was known for his silence are mirrored in Behr's film through recourse to the historical figure of the 'bianshi,' or silent film narrator. Originally adapted from the Japanese 'benshi,' the Taiwanese bianshi developed its own particular moving image culture as an interpreter of foreign movies and a mythologised outlet for political commentary during the Japanese occupation. Contemporary writer and filmmaker Huang Ying-Hsiung, who is currently reviving bianshi culture in a cinema for the visually impaired in Taipei, was invited to contribute to "Chronotopia" through a live narration of his own meta-commentary, further reflecting questions around authorship and historiography in the work. Rather than being translations of each other, the two languages accompanying the film form parallel interrogations of the narrated image.
Initially developed during an artist residency at Taipei Artist Village in July 2012 based on research in national library and television archives as well as interviews with journalists and relatives close to Lee Guang-Hui, "Chronotopia" was commissioned by Taipei Fine Arts Museum as part of "This is not a Taiwan Pavilion", a group exhibition for the Taiwan Pavilion, 55th Venice Biennale 2013, including artists Hsu Chia-Wei and Kateřina Šedá, curated by Esther Lu.
|Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed:||Venice Biennale, Taiwan Pavilion|
|Your affiliations with UAL:||Colleges > Camberwell College of Arts|
|Date:||1 June 2013|
|Funders:||Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan, CCW Graduate School|
|Related Websites:||http://www.berndbehr.com/chronotopia.html, http://www.venicebiennaletaiwan.org/en/essay-ii.html#.U76UHaj-HDk, http://www.venicebiennaletaiwan.org/en/conversation-with-behr.html#.U76UN6j-HDk, http://universes-in-universe.org/eng/bien/venice_biennale/2013/tour/taiwan/01|
|Locations / Venues:||
|Material/Media:||Single channel high definition video, two channel audio, performance.|
|Measurements or Duration of item:||16min 38sec|
|Date Deposited:||11 Dec 2012 14:32|
|Last Modified:||15 Jul 2014 11:37|
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