2019 / Post-Production, sound, UVA/C, PET/PC, wood
Sound Editing/Sound Mixing: Feng Ziming
Museums, as a significant entity in preserving historical archives, constantly rewind chronologies of narratives to a certain point in time for a glimpse of relations between “humans” and “objects” in the past. In order to reconstruct the truth of “objects” and extend their preservation, museums set up a strict standard for the act of “archiving” – an aseptic, dust-free environment with stable humidity and temperature. This makes archive rooms a special territory in the museum. Religious objects which are closely related to everyday civic life – sacred statues – are as well particularly revered by conservation teams because of their image and significance in the context of folk religions. Therefore, the archival procedure of sacred statues is an exceptional one in National Museum of Taiwan History.
Ablution before a relic officially enters an archive (collection system) – examination, sterilization, disinsection, decontamination, cleaning, conservation – seems to also filter out “ecclesiastical” interference and residues. When the grease smeared by the smoke of incense over a long time is not removed, or when a sacred statue is not properly deconsecrated, doubts are likely to cloud “the unknown” which are not thoroughly cleansed. What do museums conserve? The history created by “god?” Or “statues of gods?” And who invented our faith?
Sacred statues go through decontamination and deconsecration during their entrance into an archive. At the same time, they are also introduced to a new historical order through research carried out in and by museums, becoming objects on the academic altar. Essentially, sacred statues remain as they were. It is the shift of viewpoints that makes them look different to human eyes.
By including the ritual of “filling” in the consecration of wooden statues, this work addresses the complexities of the act of human beings ascribing “sacredness/spirituality” to an object in contrast to explanations science provides. It attempts to explore obscurities between material and spirit as well as inconspicuous animism are shown in the representation of decontamination procedures exercised on objects in museums. How do faiths and history find their presence again in archives?
About the artist
Working Hard(KUO Po-Yu, SHE Wen-Ying)