Southern Tide /
Southern Tide / 南潮 is a travelogue research, and a hypothesis on how "Chinese-ness" — like the nature of tide, that alternates between rising and falling or, to flow and drift— is an arbitrary cultural distance, rather than a measurement of Chinese culture itself. The research centers around the post-1955 speech made by Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai at the Bandung / Asian-African Conference, who had declared an expatriation of and made clear distance with the Chinese immigrants of Southeast Asia that led to the question/issue of "the Chinese" during postwar and postcolonial Southeast Asia during the period of decolonization.
During the one-year research, the artist-researcher triangulated and explored Putian, China PRC (2017); Singapore (2018); and Matsu Islands, Taiwan ROC (2018), and looked into the folk religion of Mazu, which originated in Putian during the 10th century, in the province of Fujian in China; the Maritime Silk Road; and by retracing the artist-researcher's family cultural lineage in Putian, China PRC.
As Mazuism is very much related and catered to the seafaring peoples of Southern China, it became very much connected to the overseas Chinese population who emigrated during the 18th and 19th century around the globe, and it is also currently the dominant religion in Taiwan ROC. Although Mazuism is widely regarded as solely a cultural element of overseas Chinese that is stripped of any political potency, contemporary endeavors by China such as the Maritime Silk Road (part of the Belt and Road Initiative) have instrumentalized Mazuism, that resurfaces the geocultural and geopolitical question and relationship of/between "Chinese-ness", the ethnic Chinese population worldwide, and the surge of China as a superpower nation.
Southern Tide / 南潮 was supported and funded by the Island Studies Grant, McNally School of Fine Arts in 2017.
Southern Tide /
to be updated