“Shelter in Place” invokes the contradictions inherent to survival through crises, whether geo-political, environmental or emotional. The life of an individual or a community can come to be defined by the physical weight of absence and loss, alongside the fact of perseverance—and even celebration.
The materials used here are gathered from both the US and Taiwan, two governments that have had a complex relationship since World War II, when the Nationalist Party government of the Republic of China joined the Allied forces. Szu-Han was born in Taipei, Taiwan and her family is from Tainan. During the war, American planes heavily bombed civilian areas of Taiwan, then a colony of Japan. A bomb shelter made of sandbags located in the home of Szu-Han’s grandmother allowed most members of her family to survive the air raid, with the exception of the eldest sister, who was 17 years old at the time. This work is part of a larger project to explore interwoven histories, geographies, and memory through performance and the affective weight of materials.