The installation departs from a primal scene of modern Chinese literature: In 1906, Lu Xun then a student of Western medicine in Japan, saw a slide show, in which a Chinese crowd idly watched as one of their compatriots was beheaded for spying on the Japanese army in the Russo-Japanese war. Dumbfounded by this scene of decapitation, and in particular by the appetent passivity of the Chinese spectators enjoying the spectacle, Lu Xun realized that before saving Chinese people’s bodies, he had first to save their souls. He abandoned his medical studies and pursued literature. His short stories, poems and essays are taken to mark the beginning of modern Chinese literature. Whether or not this event actually took place or is a myth created by Lu Xun himself retrospectively: “The case of the decapitation suggests that fiction and (private and public) history might have become inextricably confused, at the (textual) beginning of modern Chinese (literary) history”. David Der-Wei Wang.
With: Ho Tung-Hung, Bavand Behpoor, Teng Chao-Ming, Wu Chia-Ling, Chen Chie-Jen, Tseng Haunn-Tarng, Luis Jacob, Panai Kusui, Chihiro Minato, John Palmesino, Dakis Pawan, Chiu Row-Long, Tsui Shu-hsin
Part of the Taipei Biennial 2012 “Modern Monsters / Death and Life of Fiction” curated by Anselm Franke, at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum. Video: Taipei Biennial