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Creation/Research Support
Ocean Encountering River: Aquatic Aesthetics of An Island

The Ocean Encountering River: Aquatic Aesthetics of An Island” project brings together anthropologist I-Yi Hsieh and Taiwanese artists Tzuan Wu, Yu-ping Guo, and Chen-chen Yu to investigate the deep time of Taipei basin from the perspective of wet lands and water ways conceived in the massive earthquake taking place in 1694 – a geological event widely recorded in travelogues, temple archives, and folklores. While some geologists remain dubious about whether the gestation of Taipei as a basin surrounded by mountains is indebted to this 1694 earthquake, the tales, maps, and narratives of a misty, watery lake of mega-size and meandering waterways has been narrated by early Han settlers as much as it is documented in maps and paintings by the Japanese in the 18th century – until the 1950s when many swamps and lakes got sealed by the post-war Nationalist regime.


The collaboration of an anthropologist and three visual, sculptural, and conceptual artists in leans closely to these aquatic experiences and wet narratives and aesthetics, rendering wetlands as a place of multispecies encounter where lively plants alongside mystic aquatic creatures - such as mermaids and clam spirits - come to the fore of how the deep time of Taipei reveals to us in a mixture of fictional and geological memories, the vibration of multispecies attunement and cohabitation.


Visual Art by Tzuan Wu


2022.04.01(FRI) 2022.09.30(FRI)


Dr. HSIEH I-Yi is an anthropologist specializing in East Asian art, New Materialism, Multispecies Anthropology, and Urban Anthropology. Her art practices include participation in the inter-Asia theater troupe “Taiwan Haibizi,” a tent theater group collaborating with activists and avant-garde theater practioners from Tokyo, Beijing, and Taiwan. Tent theater is a socially engaged art from derived from Japan’s 1969 social movements.

In 2016 she co-curated “Diasporal Visual Art” at NYU Shanghai Gallery. In 2017-2019 she participated in the “Critical Collaboration” project hosted by the Department of Arts and Public Policy, the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. Since 2021 she began a new project focusing on the theme of Aquatic Aesthetics in relation to multispecies value, supported by the International Institute for Cultural Studies, National Taiwan Yangming-Chiaotung University.