Being Nomad and on the Road

Transdisciplinary

The concept of Yunjie Liao’s residency project originated from her personal life on the road, her past interactions with the homeless, vagabonds, nomads and peripatetic workers, as well as her experiences of field research. In the past twelve years, she had encountered different states of flow—talked with people sleeping under Sanying Bridge in Taipei and the piers in Prague, looked for the Roma in Eastern Europe, documented the homeless in Wanhua district of Taipei, co-habited with Taiwanese indigenous who lost houses in a devastating flood, talked with squatters in Europe and the US, experienced daily life with Palestinians and illegal residents, listened to children who left their homes into the desert and accommodated couch surfers in her own place.

During her residency period, Yunjie is going to revisit the urban yet unseen corners of Taipei such as Taipei Main Station and Manga Park, in order to continue interacting with the people with no fixed abode, or the nomads. She aims to tell stories from their perspectives and to consciously explore the core meaning of home, the similarity of lives, and the possibility or incompetence of mutual understanding.

“I finally understood that what she/they needs is after all not a shelter, a room on all sides, a bowl of hot meals, soft bedding, nor a stack of thick red envelopes. What makes her/them straddle most, however, in such cold and crowded world, is that there is never such kind of understanding (even our so-called understanding is arrogant), recognizing their favorite choice among all limited choices, recognizing their paranoia to keep on wandering. All the projected eyes are from such outer space, not fellows… The very few people, like S, who made Y feel lucky to be truly understood, always made her yearn for the next reunion- in the middle of the road, in the corner of the park, in her sleep, or where? I will never forget those stories she(they) shared with me, no matter whether those are called love, or not.          ──First day of Lunar New Year 2016, Diary in Manga Park”

By continuing to keep track of, explore and listen to the stories around being loved, recognized and understood in various states of flow, Yunjie collects stories of people “on the road,” exploring the mental status of people with different identity backgrounds and social roles — their escape or pursuit of a home, the things they/we regret to leave behind, and the things they/we always carry around. She combines these discoveries with her observations of the urban space of Taipei, her own interpretation of this city where she grew up in, and the life patterns of its residence, to weave them into different yet similar narratives.

With the expectation of the nomads, she transforms her explorations into works that allow the nomads to carry on the road (for example, a professional picture of a homeless with her/his lover.) On the other hand, Yunjie’s works resonate with other residence artists’ stories and enrich the diversity.

駐村概念,源自個人生命經驗,及過往十二年旅途中與無屋、露宿、流動者之互動及田野採集,譬如台北三鶯大橋下與布拉格橋墩下之住民、至東歐尋找羅姆人、紀錄台北萬華街友、與遭風災沖垮家園之原住民共居、訪談歐美佔領空屋者、蹲點巴勒斯坦與非法延居者生活、聆聽逃離家園進入沙漠的孩子、接待沙發客等。

本次以台北國際藝術村為據點,往返台北車站、艋舺公園等城市中心與邊緣,持續貼近無固定居所之人與流動之人,透過其視角出發,叩問家的意義、他者與自身之相似性,及真正相互理解的可能或無能。

「我終於明白,她/他們需要的,終究並非一處安置所、一個四面方正的房間、一碗熱騰騰的飯菜、一張柔軟的被褥、一疊厚厚的紅包。最令她/他們跨不過的,是如此擁擠的世界裡,沒有一種理解(就連我們的理解也是傲慢的),對於那有限選擇中的最佳選擇,對於寧可流動的偏執。所有投射而來的眼神,都不是自己人……那令Y感到少數幸運地真正被理解的S,總使她不斷地渴盼,在道路中央、在公園一角、在睡夢裡……重逢。她(們)對我傾訴的心事,無論攸關或非關愛情,我都將無法忘懷。
──丙申年,大年初一,艋舺公園日記」

透過持續追蹤、聆聽各種流動狀態下被愛與理解的可能,廖芸婕將不同身分背景與社會角色的情感處境,以及每段「在路上」的生命故事,其對家園的逃避或追尋、遺憾割捨的一切、永不離身的物事,揉合駐村者自己面對這座從小長大的台北城市空間、其居民生活模式的觀察,編織成彼此相異卻又相似的故事。並在流動者心願下,轉化為其能夠帶上路的作品(譬如與愛人的合影)。駐村期間,流動者的情感故事在城市中分享與互動,也與駐村藝術家的跨國、跨域、流動狀態產生呼應、共鳴與交流。

Residency Program

  • Taipei Artist Village, TW
  • 9 April 2021 - 6 June 2021

Exhibition

  • Taipei Artist Village, TW
  • Barry Room
  • 20 August 2021 - 19 September 2021

Grant

  • Taipei Artist Village
  • Cultural Diversity and Inclusivity Residency Programme