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《Escape Route》

Video and installation | Dimensions variable | 24”30 | 2021

LIU YU+WU,SIH-CHIN

In 1997, more than a hundred members of God's Salvation Church moved to the US from Taiwan because of a prophecy predicting God’s appearance on Earth— an incident known as “God’s Salvation UFO Cult.” Te leader of the group, Hon-Ming Chen, founded “God's Salvation Church (also known as Chen Tao Church)” in 1993 in Taiwan with the main belief drawn from a mix of Christianity, Taoism, and various folk religions and theories. Given particular political and societal contexts in Taiwan at the time, Chen predicted that the world was going to face a series of catastrophes, including nuclear wars, diseases, famine, etc. The US territory would be the only place that is free from such disasters. He also predicted that in the small hours on March 25, 1998, in Garland, Texas, God would be seen on channel 18 on television to send messages about salvation, and He would come to Earth on a UFO at 10 a.m. on March 31, 1998, to save humankind.


In 2011, another apocalyptic prophecy was made public on a personal blog by Chao-Hong Wang, a fortune-teller. Based on an ancient Chinese divination text, “I Ching,” the fortune-teller alerted the public and predicted that 37 seconds after 10:42 am on May 11, 2011, a massive 14-magnitude earthquake would hit Taiwan, break the island into two pieces, and induce an enormous 170-meter high tsunami. Te aftermath of the disaster would be long-term upheavals and famine. Chao-Hong Wang claimed that the only safe place would be the mountainous area in central Taiwan. Following the claim, Wang led his followers to settle in Ailan Village, Puli Township. He not only rented shipping container houses, put them on top of “Bagua-shaped” foundations made of concrete and reinforcement steel, but also hoarded a huge amount of supplies in order to survive the catastrophic earthquake.

Liu Yu and Wu Sih Chin based the narrative of their works on two doomsday prophecies of Taiwan and the United States. Although the prophecies did not come true, looking back on the history of humanity, humans have constantly been rehearsing and preparing for doomsday and salvation, with efforts including new religions and Anarchism that pursue Utopian scenarios. All of these incidents show how humans are anxious to be freed from the unsolvable chaos of the world, such as rapid modernization, overpopulation, globalization, political pressure, the damage inflicted on the natural environment, and global warming, hoping to reinstate order in a world that is getting out of hand.

As the accelerator of modernization is initiated, some attempt to escape from this chaotic world, aim- ing to return to a primitive, spiritual, pure state of mind. For those who believe in doomsday prophecies, there is a clear escape route, and it needs to coexist with actual life experiences. Furthermore, for ordinary folk, these escape scenarios have not disappeared but instead become fragments of contemporary life, entering the consumer system and scattered in our everyday life, a miniature liberation that appears as the epitome of “salvation.”

What the artists are concerned with is not how the incidents were treated by the media but the creativity that the incidents inspired and what they reveal about the human need for “salvation.” By reconstructing the two doomsday incidents, the artists enter the absolute realm within personal faith, the ineffable but most authentic, pure, and undifferentiated spiritual domain.

Commission by National Taiwan Museum of Fine Art, “Phantasmapolis 2021 Asian Art Biennial”

Supported by the Digital Art Center, Taipei and the Taishin Bank Foundation for Arts and Culture

《逃逸路線》

錄像與空間裝置| 尺寸依場地而定 | 24分30秒 | 2021

劉玗+吳思嶔

在 1997 年底,台灣發生了「上帝拯救地球飛碟會」事件。在該事件中,有該會的一百多位信徒集體遠赴美國要等待上帝的降臨。該事件的主事者-陳恆明,於1993年創立「上帝救贖教會」(又名真道教會),其教義融合了基督教、道教與各類民間信仰及論述,加上當時台灣的政治處境與社會現狀,陳恆明預言世界將會陷入核戰、疾病、飢荒等各種的災難之中,唯有美國領土會是倖免於災害的區域。而上帝將會於1998年3月25日零晨在美國德州的迦蘭市,於電視第十八頻道出現救贖信息,並於1998年3月31日上午10點駕乘飛碟降臨救贖。

2011年,另一位末日預言者-王超弘於私人部落格上發布災難警訊,王超弘以「易經」作為預測工具來推算,台灣將於2011年5月11日上午10點42分37秒發生14級大地震,台灣因此而南北分裂為兩半,並引發170米海嘯侵襲,進入長期的劫難與飢荒之中。王超弘聲稱台灣中部的高地是唯一安全的地方,於是在2011年4月帶領信眾遷移至南投埔里鎮愛蘭里,於此地以鋼筋建造「八卦形」地基,並放置租賃的貨櫃屋與大量物資,藉此度過大地震的浩劫。

劉玗與吳思嶔以兩起曾經發生在臺灣與美國的末日預言事件做為作品中的敘事文本,這兩件末日預言事件於當時都並未成真。回顧人類的歷史,人類不斷地演練末世與救贖。各種新興 宗教、追求烏托邦情節的無政府主義等,無一不是期待著從急速現代化、人口過剩、全球化、 政治高壓統治、生態浩劫與全球暖化等不解之題的混亂中脫出,期待重建早已失速的現實。

在現代化的加速器開啟之後,一些人卻選擇掉頭迴轉,企圖在混沌的世界中打開一條逃脫路線,重回人類原始的、靈性的、純淨的精神狀態。對於相信末日預言的信眾來說,這條逃脫路線卻是明確的,且必須與真實的生命經驗並存。再者,對於回到普羅大眾而言,該逃逸狀態並沒有消失,僅是變成了當代的生活情境碎片,進入到消費的體系並散落於日常之中:此種微型的解放不外乎是某種「救贖」狀態的縮影。

劉玗與吳思嶔關切的並不是兩起事件遭受當時媒體訕笑的結果,而是事件中面對災難所引發的創造性,以及嘗試理解現世人類對於「救贖」的需求。藉由重塑兩起末日事件來通往個人信仰中的絕對領域,那是一個無法對外溝通的,卻也是人類最原始的、純粹的、無差別的精神領域。

 

本創作計畫由國立台灣美術館《未至之城-2021亞洲藝術雙年展》委託製作,獲DAC數位藝術中心、第19屆台新藝術獎入圍推廣贊助