The East Coast National Scenic Area, Tourism Bureau, Ministry of Transportation and Communications, Republic of China will host the third annual East Coast Land Art Festival. We invite artists to submit proposals to create installation arts that combine the natural environment, geographic landscape, and spatial aesthetics of the East Coast National Scenic Area. The festival emphasizes onsite creation and local participation, focusing on the dialogue among art, nature and culture to adapt to the climate and ecological context of the East Coast. The purpose is to gather local and international artistic creativity through a modern cultural tourist strategy into shaping unique cultural and scenic landscapes of the East Coast of Taiwan.
2023 Curatorial Discussion
In Amis language, “aka lalima”(Don’t be defeated) is often used by seniors to encourage juniors not to give up when feeling frustrated by difficulties. It is also interpreted as Amis people’s attitude toward the unpredictable ocean waves, namely saka lina a taperilk(the fifth wave). Ocean waves have their patterns, usually there will be two or three big waves after several mild waves, and Amis people call bigger waves the fifth wave. Setting out from the shore, diving or sailing, everyone is to face the fifth wave. One won’t really arrive in the expansive and deep water without passing through the fifth wave.
~ Futuru Tsai
Masi’ac is how Amis people describe the moving beings in tidal zones in the turbulent flows during the transitional time between rising and ebbing tides. It is the perfect time to Micekiw(collecting shell seafood or seaweed) or Tafokod(spreading fishing nets to catch fishes). Masi’ac is a turning point, from plenty of water to drying up, it is full of opportunities and risks; it is survival in danger. Predators or preys,
moving around the tidal zones, all need to make decisions to hold up or give in to whatever comes. Isn’t life such a dilemma?
Tao elders often say, “The ocean is like Mother’s milk, and islands are the Father’s chest. You lie down on an island when you are tired, and never forget the nutrition that sustains you from the ocean.” To Tao people, the ocean is the center of the world, and the islands are individual entities floating over it.
~Sinan Mavivo, A Female Perspective of Ocean-oriented Culture from Islands
Inaugurated in 2005, the East Coast Land Arts Festival has entered the ninth year. Over the past years, the curatorial themes continued to explore the relationship between humans and nature, which is reflected in the diversified cultures sparkled by new and old populations living in this island. The deep and broad oceanic cultures that had been overlooked, although Taiwan is an island, has been discussed over and over through our curatorial discourse. The outbreak of Covid-19 and the turbulence it caused all over the world during the past three years let us understand how we have been blessed in this island. We still could live and work in peace and enjoy the rich supplies of material and spiritual lives under the threat of pandemic.
At the intersection of all kinds of cultures and values, Taiwan stays alert in the volatile flows of world politics and environmental changes, and is facing challenges that demand immediate decision-making for survival. Strength always gathers up at the most hazardous moments. For the peoples settling in the east coast for thousands of years, life on the tidal zones or on the borderless ocean gave them rigorous cultures. We are hoping, through the connection of natural landscape and humanistic energy, the East Coast Land Arts Festival will present the rhetoric of oceanic life with the mentality of aka lalima(Don’t be defeated by the fifth wave) in Masi’ac(the turbulent moment between rising and ebbing tides). Or, we shall, like Tao people, find shelter in the Father island and nourish ourselves with Mother ocean. We had been through the worst time of the pandemic by narrating our stories with the perspective of oceanic life, and we became our ancestors who sailed over the fifth wave thousands of years ago. With the legacy contained in the stories, are we ready to sail toward the expansiveness of the ocean?