TheCube Project Space is pleased to present the second phase of Artificial Unit curated by Sun Yi-Cheng. Artificial Unit phase II will take place on 16 May 2020, featuring artistic collective LAB of the Distant Relatives’s exhibition at TheCube Gongguan and Taiwanese artist Ku Kuang-Yi’s performance at TheCube7F. The exhibition is scheduled to be on view from 16 May to 21 June 2020 and the performance will be held on 31 May 2020 at 2pm.
Artificial Unit can be construed as a continuum of Unit of Interdependency, another curatorial project by Sun in 2018 that not only questioned the appropriateness of mainstream societal units (i.e. family and community) under the law and order in contemporary Taiwanese society, but also focused on the relations of collective production among artist communities/collective More specific, Artificial Unit shifts its focus back onto the most primeval state of symbiosis/coexistence among human beings (e.g. conjoined twins and reproduction) as well as the ensuing expansion and continuation of the Self. As the essence of life is becoming increasingly digitalized nowadays, this exhibition on the one hand seeks to reexamine how the existing units (incl. nation, family, race, and self) were formed through the “regulated co-production,” and on the other hand tries to construct an ideational model for the question as to “how people fabricate units” on the basis of exhibition and scenario-based performance.
▍About Exhibition / Performance
Exhibition | 16 May – 21 Jun., 2020 @TheCube Gongguan (Wed. – Sun., 2-8pm)
LAB of the Distant Relatives
HEREiAMTM: NEW 2020 (2020)
HEREiAMTM is the creation of genetic engineering, a pioneer of human sensual biotechnology. It comes up at this moment in a material world where everything is up for sale. HEREiAMTM is its clients’ most reliable partner. Form sample collection, DNA amplification, customized transformation, and immortalization, the company provides steady procreation and long-term storage of lives. It assists you to fill the universe with identical affection, proliferating your first love infinitely.
In the official language of Taiwan, “Here I Am” means “There is nothing to worry about because I am always here with/for you.” LAB of the Distant Relatives creates HEREiAMTM Biotech Ltd to provide HEREiAMTM Life Expansion Service which claims to “expand” your life by transforming the other organism with your piece of gene(s).
Once transformed into another life, your DNA will be “infinite qualitatively equal”. You will never need to worry about the impermanence of natural selections, mistakes of anthropic decisions, hereditary imperfections, nor genetic mutations. The transgenic world even embodies a logic that transcends temporal order, surpassing any despair that may come from the sense of losing oneself. With HEREiAMTM, you can unify the three parts of psyche, id, ego, and superego, into one.
In 2020, under the invitation to HEREiAM Biotechnology Co. Ltd. (Party A) from VIP collaborator, the Sun Yi-Cheng (Party B), LAB of the Distant Relatives showcases HEREiAMTM: NEW 2020 to the public and visits 4 selected participants to promote our innovation. This is the sequel to HEREiAMTM 2017 exhibition in National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts. In this era of controversial clones and bizarre avatars, LAB of the Distance Relatives displays HEREiAMTM and its upgraded trustworthy life partner − a unique, one-and-only gift, E. coli− to the universe which states, “In this mortal world, here I am.”
Performance | 31 May, 2020 2-4pm @TheCube7F
Grandmom Mom (2020)
In countries where surrogate mothers are legal, there have been a few recent incidences where the daughters or daughters-in-law were infertile so that their mothers agreed to be the surrogate mothers of their grandchildren. This project proposes the possibility of giving this option to women who are at their pregnancy ages but wish to focus on their careers, so that their eggs and their partners’ sperms can be fertilized in vitro and placed in the wombs of their mothers or mothers-in-law to give birth to their offspring. In this scenario, women can focus on their careers, and their retired women mothers, who no longer need to worry about their jobs, can fully focused on their pregnancies. In this system, every woman in every family can ask the willingness of their mothers to become pregnant for them; when they retire, they can do their daughters a favor to become pregnant for their grandchildren. Generations after generations of women can focus on their careers when they are around 30 years old, and give birth to their grandchildren when they are 60. Grandmom Mom constructs a series of future scenarios to explore the ethical and social issues associated with reproduction technologies of future human societies. It also tries to dig deep into the complicated and contradictory emotions of parent-child relationships.
Exhibition | 22 Feb. – 12 Apr., 2020 @TheCube Gongguan (Wed. – Sun., 2-8pm)
(Im)possible Baby (2015)
documentary film, images and text
(Im)possible Baby is a speculative design project which aims to stimulate discussions about the social, cultural and ethical implications of emerging biotechnologies that could enable same-sex couples to have their own, genetically related children.
Delivering a baby from same-sex parents is starting to not look like a sci-fi dream anymore – recent developments in genetics and stem cell research, such as the achievements of scientists from Cambridge University in England and Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science have made this dream much closer to reality. Jacob Hanna, the specialist leading the project’s Israeli arm, said it may be possible to use the technique to create a baby in just two years. “It has already caused interest from gay groups because of the possibility of making egg and sperm cells from parents of the same sex,” he said.” Is creating a baby from same-sex parents the ethical thing to do? Who has the right to decide this, and how? This project aims to design and inspire debate about the bioethics of producing babies from same-sex couples. In this project, the DNA data of a lesbian couple was analyzed using 23andMe to simulate and visualize their potential children, and then we created a set of fictional, “what if” future family photos using this information to produce a hardcover album which was presented to the couple as a gift. To achieve more public outreach, we worked with the Japanese national television service, NHK, to create a 30-minute documentary film following the whole process, which aired in October 2015.
Exhibition | 22 Feb. – 12 Apr., 2020 @TheCube7F (Wed. – Sat., 2-7pm)
Single Copy (2019)
video installation (21’17”), glass fiber
In 1979, conjoined twins Chang Chung-Jen and Chang Chung-I, who were 3 years old at the time, underwent surgery to be separated in Taiwan. The operation took 12 hours and was broadcasted live on television. In this unusual process of media exposure and the space-time backdrop of the event, the body is treated as different social and political symbols. In order to rehearse for the separation surgery, the National Taiwan University Hospital invited artist Hsieh Hsiao-De to make a cast of the conjoined twins for the doctors to study and practice on. However, because it was difficult to control the babies during the molding process, the attempt to make a cast was unsuccessful, and instead of a cast, a clay sculpture was then created.
In this project Single Copy, Hsu has re-casted the body of the now 43-year old Chang Chung-I, and also use 3D scanning technology to archive his body. The data from the archive are then used as sources for capturing memories from Chang’s earlier life. When Chang was 21 years old, he played a role in the movie, Falling Up Waking Down, portraying a teashop owner whose shop was inside a converted old bus. About two decades later, Chang is now 43 years old, and he has repeatedly thought about what it would be like to run that old bus-converted teashop. In real life, Chang is married with two kids, and this artwork overlaps his present life with the fictional setting.
Born in 1990, lives and works in Taipei, Taiwan.
Graduated from Graduate Institute of Trans-disciplinary Arts, Taipei National University of the Arts and the Department of Life Science of National Taiwan University, Sun Yi-Cheng currently works as a curator at TheCube Project Space of Taipei. Sun started her curatorial practice since 2014 and is the co-founder and organizer of Archipiélago Community which is derived from the former TW-bioart community in Taiwan. For Sun, she takes curatorial practices as alternative approaches to methods of producing knowledge and sees community-building as the fundamental task to cooperate with others. Sun has curated exhibitions including Imaginary Body Boundary, Digital Art Center, Taipei (2015); A Conditioned Game, Waley Art, Taipei (2016); Unit of Interdependency, TheCube Project Space (2018); The Process of Knowledge, Haiton Art Center, Taipei (2019); Talking Drums Radio(co-curator), on-line radio (2019); Artificial Unit, TheCube Project Space (2020).