In futures projected at different time scales: whether 10,000 years hence or one second from now, will we remain who we are? Are we represented by corporeal memories constructed in physical space, or by our digital behaviors captured in the block chain? Are standards of “living” determined through the consciousness of the organism itself, or by the levels indicated in mechanical data. Are that which human beings consider to be social systems, actually just a world inside a petri dish cultivated by another species? This ostensibly boundless and unfettered topic of “the future” is mired in foreshadowing in every direction, dragging or leading us in progression or retreat.
In the face of an uncertain global future, LIVES - the 5th anniversary exhibition of the Jut Art Museum, attempts to re-contemplate and interrogate the most fundamental yet radical issues of “life,” “survival,” and “living.”
The theme and structure of the LIVES exhibition originated from a series of regular research meetings held by the museum team from 2019. Crystalized after internal team discussion, the theme for the exhibition LIVES amalgamates multiple interpretations of the plural form of the noun “life” and the verb “to live,” and invites curators Escher Tsai and Amy Cheng to co-curate the exhibition, with Ming-Tsung Lee, Kuang-Chi Hung, and Lu-Lin (Jerry) Cheng to serve as curatorial advisors; all participants in dialogs and discussions that lasted over a year. Our collective origin and path as we look toward the future is explored through interdisciplinary conversations and contemplation in a contemporaneity where technology and culture intersect.
A total of 12 artists and teams from Germany, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Taiwan have been invited to participate in the current exhibition. Curators Escher Tsai and Amy Cheng focus on the possibilities of various lifeforms, on the philosophies and ethics of survival, as well as on technological development and modes of living. They explore the social construction and forms of survival from both cultural and biological perspectives, encompassing the relationships between human beings and nature, and between information and consciousness.
The future may already be upon us. Over the course of the preparatory process for this exhibition, spanning the years from 2019 to 2022, COVID-19 has accelerated various rehearsals and drills for the future, compelling us to gaze intently at the vulnerability and resilience of life. We have long departed from previously established rules of survival and modes of living. Even so, we will make an attempt to invite each one of you currently experiencing the present moment, to cast away established conventions and join us as we embark on this speculative journey regarding the future; on this perpetual inquiry without an answer.