Cat and Mouse
Cat and Mouse is a work of art that connects the history of Taiwan’s “White Terror” era with archaeological history. In the year 1948, amateur archaeologist Wang San-pai, (courtesy name Hong-bo) travelled to the Nanshikeng settlement located on the western slopes of Dadu Plateau and discovered prehistoric tableware, porcelain, and animal bones, thus naming the newly unearthed community the “Nanshikeng Site.” This astounding archaeological project was however discontinued due to the political climate of the time. Specifically, Wang San-pai was sentenced to prison for political reasons and executed in 1953, putting a screeching stop to a budding discovery. It was not until 2001 that the archaeological site was once again formally excavated under the direction of Dr. Chu Whei-lee of the National Museum of Natural Science.
The video is a recording of the artist’s visit to Taichung and an interview of Mr. Wang San-pai’s daughter, Master Chang Tsz, who revealed precious manuscripts including Mr. Wang San-pai’s field survey reports on the Nanshikeng Site as well as the calligraphy works and letters he had written while imprisoned. She also presented a unique inkstone Mr. Wang had hand-chiselled from a rock he had found while still attending elementary school. His profound interest in field research and archaeology is evident from this long-cherished childhood object. Another item in his collections is a piece of pottery depicting a cat and a mouse that alludes to the political climate during Mr. Wang’s lifetime. The artist utilized 3D scanning technology to convert images of the inkstone and pottery piece into digital data, then created the installation using 3D printing, harnessing the powers of modern technology to reveal this complex, intertwining piece of history between archaeology and politics.
許家維 HSU Chia-Wei｜兩個考古場景 Two archaeological scenes
2020 Green Island Human Rights Art Festival