2014 Guandu International Outdoor Sculpture Festival
Title: Meander Island
Artist: Lee, Kuei-Chih
Location: Zhishan Cultural and Ecological Garden, Taipei city, Taiwan
Materials: Branches, Grass, Soil, Seeds
“Meander Islands” is part of the series “Meander”. It tells the story of a vital relationship between land and people.The word “meander” has several different meanings in Mandarin including bending, wandering, detouring,slowly flowing and rambling. In order for straightening to happen, bending is essential. It is also an indispensable process for a river to meander.
There’s a fascinating legend of a missing lake that used to cover the entire Taipei Basin. In addition to the geological evidence, we can find some trace of this lake in ancient literature like Yu Yonghe‘s Small Sea Travel Records. Though we need more proofs to confirm the existence of this lake, it has become a big inquiry and a popular legend among people. The hill of Zhishanyan offers a record of Taipei’s history ever since the formation of the island now known as Taiwan. I try to continue the previous idea of floating islands while creating this site-specific installation. Combined with the specific history and imagination of this place, it becomes a regenerated habitat at the same time. For me, the land can be seen as a kind of organism with its own vitality, a huge storage for the energy of plants. The continuous development and expansion of cities have brought many benefits to our lives, but human has also become more and more disconnected from nature. Several pieces of land are uprooted and float upon the pond and ground as if the land wants to have an endless conversation with us and reminds us the deep connection in our memory.
There are five islands in total. The three islands installed in the pond symbolize the three hills: Zhishanyan, Yuanshan, and Treasure Hill which were once the only three islands in the lake six thousand years ago. It implies the evolving history of Taipei Basin.The two islands extended on the land emphasize that the environment is a total entity. They also represent that land and water are inseparably to each other. Seeds are planted on each island to recall the importance of Zhishan Cultural and Ecological Garden as a local plant gene pool and the energy of the land.