Liang-Hsuan Chen’s ‘Daily’ offers a melancholy view of daily life in Taiwan – a far cry from the furiously accelerating rhythms clichéd by media depictions of the island. Chen directs family and friends in reconstructions of news stories reported in the Taiwanese media, selected for their illustration of the struggles of ordinary citizens against impersonal powers – like the tale of a old woman who tried to grow vegetables on public land but was forcibly removed by the local authorities. The characters remain mute, subdued into wordlessness or absorbed by mysterious inner concerns.
These scenes are projected onto a suspended plexi screen. A second projection of a light – from a lamp shot in the gallery space before the work was installed – is projected on the reverse, and shines through to appear as a glaring sun, constant and static as the landscapes and characters change. The title of the piece is also ‘double-sided’ – ‘daily’ and ‘sun’ being written as the same character in Mandarin. This particular sun, rather than illuminating these quiet, frustrated scenes, seems only to make them hazier and less distinct, as if public exposure robs these minor human stories of life. A life, it seems, that exists somewhere behind the screen, out of the public eye.