Happy Birthday

-Two Congratulations from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the 7th Fleet

By Su Hui-yu
Happy Birthday- Two Congratulations from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the 7th Fleet. | dual channels video installation (3’47” loops) | 2011 (still of the video)

Happy Birthday- Two Congratulations from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the 7th Fleet. | dual channels video installation | 3’47” loops | 2011 (still of the video)

On the eve before the Republic of China’s (ROC) Centennial Anniversary, a military representative from the People’s Republic of China and the commander of America’s Seventh Fleet expressed their congratulations to Taiwan via a live video feed. During their messages, they cleverly included the political views of their respective nations regarding Taiwan’s cross-strait relations. Coincidentally, after the congratulatory announcements, both army representatives sang ROC’s national anthem as a tribute to Taiwan’s people.

This work comes from an absurd, imaginary setting. On the eve before ROC’s Centennial Anniversary, the two nations, both holding the greatest military influence in Asia and who don’t even recognize Taiwan as a nation, wish it a “happy birthday.” Although congratulatory in nature, the two statements are filled with competing, political innuendos that are directed at the other nation. In this work, the artist has one person play two roles: the Chinese military representative and the Seventh Fleet commander. With exaggerated facial expressions, the two military men act out a skit to highlight“Republic of China’s”current, tragic, and amusing international status.