(Born in 1968. USA)
(Born in 1966. Taiwan)
(Born in 1962. Taiwan)
A Different Gravity: Held by the River, 2020
In A Different Gravity: Held by the River, the artists explore how we might learn to become guests of the rivers that traverse the Taipei Basin. Although “Heavenly Dragon Kingdom” (HDK), as Taiwanese people often call Taipei, has extracted itself from the Tanshui, Keelung, and Hsintien Rivers, one of the most ancient names for Taipei is Banka, a Ketagelan indigenous name for a type of raft. Hatfield juxtaposes sounds of the milalik, an Amis indigenous song associated with travel and movement of timbers necessary for house construction down the Siugulan River on Taiwan’s East Coast, with sounds of urban and riparian environments, many recorded as the artist kayaked the Keelung river near the museum. Layered with these sounds we can also hear excerpts from interviews with Amis people who moved to Taipei to do construction work during the city’s building boom in the 1980s.
HDK’s gravitational attraction pulled these workers, as it does many of Taiwan’s people and resources. Yet they also discovered along Taipei’s riverine margins places entangled with, but still at a remove from, a hostile city. Recently, other Taipei people have discovered the gravity of Taipei’s rivers through kayaking; others, through concern that global climate change may inundate the city. Through interviews, recordings, and physical practice,the piece follows people who have become sensitive to the different gravitational fields of Taipei’s rivers and climate change, asking how we can cultivate an ethics in which we become guests of a landscape that Taipei’s urban form has covered and walled away.