Made by Taiwan
In 2009, after I had finished making The Taiwan Tangle at Guandu International Bird Sanctuary in Taipei, I traveled most of the circumference of the island and some inland areas. The Taiwanese were wonderful hosts and many artists and their friends hosted me or took the time to show me special things I was interested in. I traveled primarily by train, but sometimes by bus or in private cars with friends. I was particularly keen to see structures, bridges or walls constructed using mortar that contained sticky rice and the pulverized shells of mollusks. I also wanted to visit the villages of the indigenous peoples in which the architecture was constructed of stacked slate, and to see the agriculture of the region—I had never seen pineapples growing for example. And I wanted to see certain natural features like Mt Yushan which I had "drawn" using vines as I sculpted the topography of Taiwan for the shade roof the The Tangle - and I wanted to hike in Taroko Gorge. I was able to do all this and more. As I traveled I was constantly photographing and shooting video. The title of the series refers to the industrious genius of the Taiwanese who seem to be able to make anything, but alters the usual Made in Taiwan to refer instead to the natural production of plants and animals nurtured by the warm humid atmosphere of the island nation of Taiwan. Thick mosses are abundant on the north side of a roadside retaining wall, or tunnel, and even on the sheer rock faces of Taroko Gorge where a plant has drawn a target around itself as the wind has twirled it round and round. The photographic prints in this series result from my journey around Taiwan and were printed upon my return at the Kala Art Institut'’s Electronic Media Center in Berkeley, CA.