The Land in the Middle of the Pond

Concept, Artistic Direction and Performance: Anchi Lin [Ciwas Tahos] / Cinematography: Liam Morgan / Project assistant: Julia Lin Kingham

  • Double-channel HD Video, colour, sound, duration 08 mins 09 secs (looped), x2 water containers, 2021
The Land in the Middle of the Pond makes reference to the 1950’s forced displacement of the Atayal Qara community from their ancestral territory for the construction of the Shimen Reservoir – now the main water supply for Northern Taiwan. Throughout the video, we hear the voice of an elder from the displaced Atayal Qara community. The elder recalls the events which resulted in the forced displacement of her community and the impact of diaspora inherent among her people. The performance was filmed in the Shimen reservoir while in the midst of a drought. In the video we see Ciwas tracing  veins and blood vessels that run along her limbs like rivers. These marks, in turn, make visible her lineal bloodline, the mark of identity. During the performance, later Ciwas and other Atayal women engage in an Atayal name exchange ritual, between person and plant. This customary ritual Ciwas employs like the tracing of her bloodline at the reservoir, as a symbolic act for reconnecting with her ancestral land while affirming her identity past, present and future.

“Land in the Middle of the Pond depicts the biopolitics of the Qara Atayal community as it intertwines with the river. The work employs different rituals to respond to a history of forced relocation, pollution, and disease — rituals such as painting the veins of one’s legs, carrying water from the reservoir, and the exchanges of names between people and plants. At the same time, it serves as a bridge point and positive call which permeates between individuals.” Tides in the Body Curator Wu Hung-Fei  

Two-channel video stills, 2021