Elektra Virtual Museum
The Space Warriors and the Digigrave
5TH VH AWARD - FINALIST SU HUI-YU (蘇匯宇) [TW]
From 1984 to 1987, the last decade of the cold war, one of the only three government TV channels in Taiwan, the CTS, published a very rare and weird Sci-fi series called Space Warriors. It’s copied and adapted from the 1970s Japanese TV series Super Sentai. CTS stopped the broadcast of this series eventually due to reasons like low ratings, unstable production qualities, bad responses from the audience, and of course, the rise of VHS and cable TV which imported the original one from Japan. The series combined fantasies and folk tales that hinted at nationalism, Confucianism, and chauvinism values, which was a very unique experience of the collective memory in the island during the martial law era.
Following Su Hui-Yu’s “Re-Shooting” series, this project attempts to invite people to revisit the collective memory of the Sci-Fi genre, thus creating a package of video installations, photos and even a real cinema piece. The “new version” will recreate a universe with dualistic moral, by which the artist can start a fallacious narrative of “Labor as the fuel for creating time” that includes an immoral alien race who invade earth. In this scenario as the background, the evil aliens who evaluated themself to multiform desires might cause the human race to face extinction. One of the main concepts of the new narrative is cited from Jack Halberstam’s “Queer Time” theory, as a lever, which affects the upcoming idea chain in this piece such as deconstruction, relocation, anti-productivity, anti-social clock, fighting against the male and classical historical perspective, moreover, turning on the spillovers of Queer to approach diverse fields and categories.
Using nowadays open-source AI tools like motion tracking, facial recognition and image generation(the software this time is Stable Diffusion) which reflect modern time’s body-politics propositions, combining with traditional film skills like film shooting, human performances and CG animation which represent the classical logics of moving images, the artist wants either metaphysically or technically providing a solution of reconciliation for those who’s still struggling with the nations, identities, genders, morals, and ideologies. The Space of Worries and the Digigrave is a way out of the narrative, the narrative which leads people to unity and oneness.
The image of the beginning is the northeast coast of Taiwan, the nature there is always cruel. rocks have been shaping for thousands of years by plate movement and different kinds of powers from the Pacific. As the landing ground of the so-called aliens, the field has multiple metaphors. The creature looking landscapes are creepy, beautiful and sexy sometimes, like the video art and its 1970s reference. One of the scenes in the video is Dr. Sun Yat-Sen - father of the nation of Republic of China, Taiwan according to the nationalist government’s narrative during the cold war - memorial Hall, which is also an interesting ruin nowadays. The auditorium in the institute represents a martial law ambience, and the students are under the attack while the teacher is trying to give a patriarchy/patriotic speech.
The Chinese characters in the background are contradictory terms and sentences, or the so-called keywords of the core hints. For example, in the first section, the beginning, the words are island, fuel, energy and time: the second section, are colony, occupies; the third, leader, nation, community, unity, cold war; the fourth, sex as weapon, climax, fornication, violence and killing; the fifth, war, militarist, dictatorship, forbiddance, moral correction, justice; and the very ending part, ecstasy, world harmony, universe, the planet, human future, mechanism, energy, mining, computing, and collective faith, etc. In the same while, the abstract graphic patterns show the “aesthetics “of Taiwan in some time, in its contemporary digital version.
In the background, there is a spaceship called Digigrave, which is AI generated according to the dictator’s tombstone - Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall – in downtown Taipei. So, the dichotomy is deconstructed now, the aliens could be the leader of our race. But ironically, the dictator who said that he wants to protect human beings could be right (or maybe it’s “political right”)? The chaos image layers represent the chaos itself. It’s the body of the evacuation, the evacuation for those who need to escape from the planet/island, either on a metaphysical or a moral level.