The White Waters
Multi-channel installation/live art, 2019/2020.
“Critical Point Theater Phenomenon” was established in the late 1980s by TIAN Chi-Yuan and others.As the first publicly documented college student with AIDS, TIAN and Critical Point not only launched a new era of experimental theater in Taiwan, but also represented a significant moment in the history of gay culture. In 1993, Critical Point presented its seminal work, “White Water”—a contemporary reinterpretation of “The Flooding of Jinshan Temple” episode in The Legend of the White Snake, which explored themes of homosexuality, love, and political identity; and touched conceptually on the domain of the post-human and anti-anthropocentrism.
The White Waters uses TIAN’s classic as leverage in a return to the classic legend. The work focuses on imagery such as flood/fluidity, violence, sex, gender, illness/death, post-human, and antianthropocentrism, etc., so as to contemplate the numerous thoughts and fissures in both The Legend of the White Snake and“White Water,” hence enabling the cognitive structures of desire, life, morality, and identity to be laid bare once more. In form, the work utilizes colors to create structurally distinct segments, and showcases the artist’s many flights of fantasy regarding the above. The performance on video has been enacted by Instagram sensation JONG Yi-Ling and Popcorn, an active participant in Taipei’s drag community.