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trap

One of the good things of being a tourist is that you have lots of free time. Therefore, you get to reflect on your own life. In general, you are too busy to think. Most of the time, you just live like a zombie, dragging your body and looking for the next meal.

During my travel, I realize my life has a lot to do with traps.

There are many traps in life and most of us fall into one of them. The idea is not to escape from traps, but to recognize the same one that confines you.

When I got out from my university in Taiwan, I used to be a full-time graffiti artist. My graffiti career carried on for four years. In this period of my life, the goal of survival was simple: to sign your name as many as possible, meanwhile, without being caught by the police.

To practice illegality, requires a system of production, plans of vandalism. I had a detailed working schedule including specific time and locations that were the least likely to encounter with the law enforcement.  The schedule worked well. Five days a week, I went out around 2 am, patrolled around the neighbourhood, chose a location, started working, had a breakfast after work, back home and went to sleep around 8am.

It took me four years to recognize my trap: I was caught by the idea of not being caught. The plans and routines trapped me. Spray cans trapped me. The dumb graffiti circle and peers trapped me. I was trapped in the endless dark alleyways of Taipei.

*

After I graduated from my MFA in Britain, I started my life as an emerging artist.

In this period of my life, I have spent a lot of time travelling. I have been to various cities in Europe and Asia chasing shows and festivals. The strange thing is, no matter which city it was, I always ended up with the same group of people, the same white cube space and the same topics of conversation such as: ‘how is the art scene in your country?’ ‘what is your chosen medium?’ or ‘I think of my installations as unfinished inventories of fragments…’

I am trapped in a matrix reality of the ‘art world’. I am trapped in its awesome infrastructure of museums, government institutions and galleries, its individual professionals such as dealers, critics, administrators, and its formations of organizations, foundations and artist groups. I am trapped by its hypocrisy. I am trapped by publicity. I am trapped by connection and networking.

The trap is called the career of emerging artists: life in a Kafkian novel.

*

Life as a tourist is a trap, too.

As a traveller, you have the responsibility to enjoy. If you get bored, then the trip loses its meaning.

So I get angry easily in situations such as the weather turns bad, watching a cheesy performance or people start talking clichés. In these occasions, there is always a monologue going on in my head: I paid the money to come here. Consumer first! Entertain me!

In the second week of my travel, I am trapped by the urge of having fun, the need for entertainment.

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