Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Eco of Pain

Installation in Prison Room, International Human Rights Workshop 2008
Green Island, Taiwan

Sunil Sigdel,  Eco of Pain

The government of Taiwan conducted a workshop in Green Island commemorating the well over 2000 political prisoners that consisted of writers, painters and artists amongst others. The organizers summoned 20 artists that included the local and the foreign art practitioners. In the present day this prison house in Green Island has been turned into a museum.

I worked in one of the prison rooms where I created three different art works that were interconnected with one another. In one of my installation I selected eight names out of 2000 prisoners and wrote them on the wall. Then I covered it with eight fishing net. Since it was an island and our materials to create artworks were limited therefore I incorporated a fishing net that was easily available there. My
intension of using fishing net was because I wanted to represent suffocation since the harsh fishing net is used to capture and kill fishes. Here, as I stated above, the eight fishing nets contained names of the eight prisoners. On the exact opposed wall of this installation I arrangied eight of my color photographs that were covered with the fishing net.
In my second presentation I used the same photos but this time in b/w which I pasted all over the tiles of the toilet. I came to know from the museum personnel that the prisoners were extremely tortured. The Green Island prison is located in the island which is surrounded by the sea; therefore, the prisoners could see the vast sea but when it came to using water to take shower or drink they had to use the water from the toilet. This created an everlasting torture in the mind of the prisoners. By manipulating such sentiments I arranged my portrait in the hole of the toilet, as if a prisoner is trying to come out of it.
My third work consisted of barb wire that was placed on the window. The prisoners could see the open space outside; however, that was the only solace that they could get. Other than that, their freedom was not only snatched away from them, but toping that, they were extremely tortured by using various methods. I also came to know that there were 16 different methods to torture these prisoners. Few of these methods were by making them take dog shit, drink urine, pressing their fingers, taking off their finger nails, locking them in the ice room, excessively beating one of the prisoners and make the others see or hear the painful scream etc. I wrote these methods of torturing in the wall and then placed the barb wire below the window overlapping the writings. In this presentation my intention was to compare the outer open expansive view from the prison window and the inward torturous and grim cell.