Art as Reverberations of Social Movement? Study on the Works of Chen Chieh-jen──"Factory", "Route" and "Realm of Reverberations"






In 2014, there were two critical social movements emerged subsequently- Sunflower Student Movement in Taiwan and Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong. Within these two social movements, art played a significant role to visualize, embody and emotionalize the appeal of social movements. This essay focuses on the relationship between art and social movement at different stages and question that long time after the social movement, when the concerned issues disappearing gradually in the daily life, what art could do with this? Three works by artist Chen Chieh-jen: "Factory" (2003), "Route" (2006) and "Realm of Reverberations" (2014) are taken as case studies to respond this inquiry. These three works relate to specific social movements but meanwhile keep a distance. All of them were produced long after the social movements they related to. In other words, Chen took an indirect approach.

This essay, different from previous researches of Chen's works, will not take a perspective of moving image, rather focus on the working methods that artist applies. "Community Collusion", "(No) performance", "Site/Non-site" are three methods summarized form this analysis. This essay points out the fact that these three methods make art extend, reproduce and recommunicate after those social movements. The power of art with social movement is art located in a place with no place so that it could provide a space to image and debate. Art should not be limited within the framework of on-going social movement. The period after social movement might be a better moment for art: art could recall the forgotten past, reveal the hidden multi-voices in the process of social movement, and open new space and possibility for the social movement which is getting rigid.


Chen Chieh-jen, Contemporary Art, Social Movement, Reverberation, Community Collusion, (No) performance, Site/Non-site