Yin-Ju Chen / James T. Hong, The Turner Archives, 2011, multimedia installation

One Universe, One Nation, One God, 2012, 3-channel HD video installation, colour, sound, 17 min


Yin-Ju Chen presents two works in the Taipei Biennial 2012: The Turner Archives, created together with James T. Hong, and a new three-screen video called One Universe, One God, One Nation. The Turner Archives is inspired by the infamous novel The Turner Diaries, written by William Luther Pierce. The Turner Diaries has been called a “bible of racism,” as it sets out scenarios of race war and ends with the victory of white supremacy. It is famous for having been the inspiration for numerous racist crimes and right-wing terrorist attacks. The installation The Turner Archives creates a fictional character named Turner, whose private “war room” or planning office we enter. Here we find his personal plans to overthrow the US government as well as references to recent anti-immigration laws passed in the US and to the history of the Ku-Klux Klan. There are two videos in the war room, one showing images of segregation architecture and the US-Mexico border, and the other showing images of the multi-ethnic America against which Turner directs his war. 

Yin-Ju Chen’s new video installation One Universe, One God, One Nation seeks to evoke a sense of closure and despair in the face of the inescapable cycles of history. The particular moment evoked here is the age of space exploration in the 1960s, juxtaposed with the forms of imperial, ideological, and totalitarian power existing at that time. The inspiration for the work came from Hannah Arendt’s analysis of space exploration as a form of “world alienation,” and also from the astrological horoscope of Chang Kai-Shek, which predicts his charismatic and authoritarian character. How is it that most modern movements for a better future, and all attempts to break free from the chains of power, ultimately fall prey to their own mythologies? Here we enter the slippery ground between “science” and “collective dream image,” between the knowledge and the fantasy of an epoch. One Universe, One God, One Nation is a visual meditation on power, modern forms of totality and totalitarianism, mass mobilization, devotion, the auratic, and the supernatural. It works through the juxtaposition of images taken in outer space with images of war and submission to power. 

 Yin-Ju Chen, born 1977 in Taiwan, lives and works in Taipei