“Preserving an intangible cultural heritage I” is one of three video works that are a part of Annette An-Jen Liu's graduate work "Reconsidering Time in the Ritual of the Joss Paper (2018)", a research project that investigates the cultural practice of burning joss paper as an intangible cultural heritage informing aspects of Taiwanese identity.
The three video works are screen recordings created from collecting Taiwanese media reports of the last decade on the ritual. In this controlled digital format, Liu juxtaposes several videos on one plane to showcase complex interrelations between the reports, highlighted by the deliberate yet clumsy resizing of various footage at different times. As all the reports play at once and are on loop when displayed, they are no longer fully legible, but instead highlight the chaotic, contradictory and often sensationalised tones of the reports. The video work ultimately also considers the challenges of navigating tradition in a digital space.
The collection of Taiwanese media reports offers various ongoing discourses and debates surrounding the practice with their social commentaries either encouraging the public ritual as an important part of tradition or critiquing and evaluating its place in contemporary society. This first group showcases the contradicting place of this ritual as part of Taiwan's largely Taoist-based folk religion, amongst the country's syncretism with Buddhism.