Single Channel Video with Sounds, Color / 13 mins, 36 secs / 2011 / Taiwan
Treasure Hill is located on the site of a temple devoted to Guanyin, in Taipei. Over fifty years ago, people started building their own houses, on this land owned by the Ministry of National Defense. Originally it was settled in by war veterans, but developed into a community composed mainly of poor people, migrant workers and others who couldn’t afford the steep prices in the area. Thus the inhabitants were generally a marginalised and voiceless community.
In 2004, the government declared that it was going to raze the buildings in the pursuit of urban development. Students and teachers of several National Taiwan University departments along with the NGO ’OURS’ and many ’Artivists’ acted to try and save the residences. During 2007-2009 with the policy of preservation and revitalization, the old settlement unfolded a new vision of an artivist compound which would respect the existing fabric of the community while fulfilling the regeneration concept of "symbiosis" to incorporate production and ecology in communal living and ushering in the program of an international art village. The ideas of art to further cultural exchanges with broader international communities.
In 2010, Shih-Tung Lo had a residency process in Treasure Hill. He proceed with a series of work. Through the process of creating and interacting with spectators and residency communities, the fragmented, fissured, and forgotten history can be restored or even fictionalized. It is about seeking one’s identity, residence, hometown, and city; those long forgotten, unseen ghosts.
The script is written according to a conflagration which happened years ago in Treasure Hill. Through photo documents and interviews with residents, one can relate various images of fire to the past lifestyles of residents, whether it be fire accidents, bonfires, or fires for the purpose of producing light and warmth. These flickers of light can be seen as historical signifiers, linking together all the different people and memories belonging to this land. At present, Treasure Hill has been transformed and regenerated as an Artist Village. How to recollect the historic local memories and let them permeate into the present or even the future through the practice of contemporary art is a major issue that challenges us today. To this date, the flames of Treasure Hill have not yet ceased and are continuing to spread. Through various forms of fire (light) and images, it allows us to "see / illuminate" the different textures of Treasure Hill.
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