Prelude: Song of Departure (2019)

Prelude: Song of Departure
part of The Extreme Journey of Perwira and the Calm Sea: In 3 Acts
靜海武士的極盡旅程(三幕劇)之序 : 啟航之歌
04:45 mins, Single-Channel Video, 2019

Song of Departure 04

“The Extreme Journey of Perwira and the Calm Sea: In 3 Acts” is Au’s continuation of the play“ The Nanyang Intelligence Bureau” (2018), as part of the “Nanyang” project. The Japanese intelligence agent, Tani Yutaka, was a member of F. Kikan, one of the intelligence departments of Japan in the 1940s. Yutaka spoke Malay fluently in the images created by the mass media. After born in 1911, Fukuoka, Japan, he moved to the North East of Malay Peninsula with his parents. He became a bandit out of revenge after his sister was killed. The story of Yutaka was made into movies in 1943 and 1989. And the TV show “Amazing Harimao” from 1960 to 1961 as well as the comic of the same name published afterwards, were also based on the same story. “The Extreme Journey of Perwira and the Calm Sea: In 3 Acts” reimagines the oceanic and life journeys of Tani Yutaka. Mixing Southern Cross, navigation system, the thinking, deploying and regrouping of the relationship between popular music and images, the project reflects the multiple facets of Japan, Taiwan, ASEAN countries, as well as the changing borders between South China Sea, Indian Ocean, the Pacific region and its shifting power dynamic. “Prelude: Song of Departure”, the Prologue of the project, applies the format of Karaoke to start the journey of Yutaka. The song of departure is a collage of the lyrics and melodies of “The Song of Taiwanese Army”, used to recruit Taiwanese to the army during Japanese Colonization, the theme song of “Amazing Harimao” and “The Song of Southern Cross”.

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「靜海武士的極盡旅程(三幕劇)」為區秀詒2018年劇場作品「南洋情報交換所」後「南洋」計畫之延續。日籍情報員谷豐(Tani Yutaka)為1940年代日本情報部門之一F機關的一員。大眾媒體塑造下的谷豐說得一口流利馬來語,1911年在日本福岡出生後即隨父母到馬來半島東北部生活,長大後為了報妹妹被殺之仇而變成俠盜。谷豐的故事曾分別於1943年和1989年被拍成電影,並於1960到1961年間改編成電視劇「怪傑哈力貓」(快傑ハリマオ),爾後甚至延伸出漫畫的版本。「靜海武士的極盡旅程(三幕劇)」重新想像谷豐(Tani Yutaka)的海上和人生旅程,揉合南十字星、導航系統以及流行歌曲與影像的關係思考、部署以及重組,藉以折射出日本、臺灣、現東協國家以及南海、印度洋、太平洋區域邊界與權力移動的多重面貌。此創作計畫的序篇「序:啟航之歌」挪用卡拉OK伴唱帶的形式,為谷豐的旅程揭開序幕。這首啟航之歌拼貼了日治臺灣時期作徵召臺灣人入伍的「臺灣軍之歌」、「怪傑哈力貓」主題曲以及「南十字星之歌」的歌詞與旋律。

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The Broadcast Project: A Many Splendored Thing of the Coconut, a Belle from Penang and the Secret Agent (2018)

2018 (commissioned by Taipei Biennial 2018)

In the early twentieth century, the imperial Japanese government attempted to transform northern South Taiwan into a ‘paradise’, simply in order to provide a test case for further expansion into Southeast Asia in the future. Enormous quantities of tropical plants were transported to Taiwan, including coconut trees, which were seen as a strategic object in the expansion of borders—enacting a systemization of nature as such.

In 1935, the Japanese government commemorated the fortieth anniversary of the colonization of Taiwan with an extravagant display of cultural and political power, ‘The Taiwan Exposition: In Commemoration of the First Forty Years of Colonial Rule’. This fifty-day event celebrated Japanese and Taiwanese products and craftsmanship, construction and modernization, and occupied over thirty new buildings in Taipei and across the island. The Exposition’s South Pavilion featured a reproduction of rubber plantation—though the rubber tree itself is not native to Southeast Asia, it now grows here in abundance having been imported from South America by the British. This Pavilion was also flanked by sculptures of horses, an animal usually accustomed to temperate climates and unable to withstand extreme heat, but which was trained in humid southern Taiwan in order to prepare for upcoming battles. In this sense, the Taiwanese Exposition revealed the way in which the geographies of flora and fauna have been manipulated by humans to sustain colonization.

This artwork extends from The Nanyang Intelligence Bureau, a collaborative performance presented by Au Sow-Yee and the Oz Theatre Company in October of 2018. Designed as a film set which humorously mimics the Southern Pavilion from the Taiwan Exposition in 1935, and integrates radio broadcasts, video works, and archival objects, A Love Story of Life and Death charts Taiwan’s colonial history through an unlikely romance between a vanished intelligence agent and the ‘Belle of Penang’ (Bin Cheng Yan). A theatrical murder mystery of sorts, this performative installation invites viewers to reimagine the relationships between Japan, Taiwan, and Malaysia, exposed through their political and botanical connections.

Documentation of Installation



photo by Chen Yow-Ruu
photo by Chen Yow-Ruu
photo by Chen Yow-Ruu
photo by Chen Yow-Ruu
photo by Chen Yow-Ruu
photo by Chen Yow-Ruu
photo by Chen Yow-Ruu
photo by Chen Yow-Ruu




演員:鄭志忠、Ayam Fared