Marshal Tie Jia – Turtle Island

Author: Hsu Chia Wei

This video installation engages with the history of a tiny island off the coast of Matsu, situated in the Taiwan Strait. During the Qing Dynasty, the island was the site of a tiny temple. When Chiang Kai-Shek retreated to Taiwan, the temple was relocated to a larger neighboring island, and a bunker was constructed in its place. At present, the bunker is a ruin and ownership of the island has been transferred again to the proprietors of the original temple. The island is also under the command of a local frog deity called Marshal Tie Jia.

In this work, the island is used as a stage. Employing a green screen, Hsu places a fictional version of the original tiny temple on the island. Slowly, the camera zooms out and reveals the green screen. This forms the backdrop of a performance in which a local senior citizen sings a form of folk opera found only in the south of Fujian Province, recounting the experience of WWII. He is the last person capable of performing the opera, which has a long tradition and was known to be Marshal Tie Jia ‘s favorite pastime, but which has now fallen into oblivion.

Single channel HD video installation

Location Code: AV.HCW.MTJ1
Language: Hokkien
Year of Publication: 2012