If we intend to create a story from this chapter, we shall start with the fact that most of us spend 1/3 of our lifetime being covered by cotton quilts. Then, we can begin to search for clues connected to quilts. As a noun, a cotton quilt, composed of multi-layered batting from cotton fibers that have been flicked fluff, can be soft fillings inside the thin cotton linen. As verbs, cover and suffer are connotations related to quilts. A textile is regarded as a global language which not only involves the development of material industry worldwide but also brings about a system behind social structure and capitalism.
The cotton quilt here arouses childhood memories of the artist and the connections with the last generation. The traditional skill of threading (Note 1) forms a net that is cross-generation and trans-dimension. If a cotton quilt is seen as an interface or a boundary, it may have respective expressions in terms of time, spaces, and dimensions when being divided into three, such as taking 8 hours from a day. In a timeline, there is past, present, and future. In historical facts, there are stages of foreign colonization, the Nationalist Government to Taiwan, and democratization. In terms of spaces, there is heaven, earth, and ocean. Even in abstract dimensions, there are partitions made by traversing nodes.
During her three-month residency in Siao-long Cultural Park, the artist has conducted field research and created artworks. Through the imagination and the interlaced historical facts and the present time/space, the artist connects Jiali, the former stronghold of textile manufacturing industry, Ling-zi-liao of Xuejia, which is well-known for its quilt production, the tradition of Japanese craftsmanship of tatami sewing, rise and fall of sugar industry in Taiwan, and the routes of people’s migrations as well as trading and logistics. Nature and culture of Taiwan are employed to compare with world history of cotton. Sugar, being a medium here, is used as seasoning and an adhesive in the process to incorporate issues like products, registered citizens, policies, and ecology together as tamping down (note 2) cotton batting and a lattice of thread into a quilt. Attempting to expand our ways of thinking and interpreting the world, the artist integrates various manufacturing procedures and elements of cotton industry and creates multimedia installations through painting, videos, textile, and sculptures.
Note 1: Threading means to pull and stretch yarns in crisscross pattern on a multi-layered cotton batting that has been flicked fluff just like layering a fiber mesh on it.
Note 2: Tamping means to gently press a wooden disk on cotton lining fully covered by a lattice of thread. After tamped down, the layer of batting can be evenly fixed to thread and attached to each other.