Empire’s Borders I

Author: Chen Chieh-jen

“Empire’s Borders I” is composed of two parts. The first part narrates eight typical experiences of Taiwanese citizens who applied for American non-immigration visas at AIT. In each of these cases, the applicant was treated roughly by the interviewer and then denied a visa for indefinite reasons. The second part of the video tells the stories of eight Mainland Chinese brides who immigrated to Taiwan to live with their spouses. The video describes the Taiwanese National Immigration Agency’s inhumane scrutiny of each Mainland bride starting from the immigration interview at the airport.

For the filming of “Empire’s Borders I”, I constructed sets resembling the interview areas at AIT and the airport in Taiwan. My desire was not to create a theatrical effect in the videos, but rather to reclaim these spaces that have been cordoned off by mechanisms of authority. In both AIT and the Taiwan airport—spaces symbolic of national sovereignty—neither video recording nor the carrying of electronic communication devices is permitted. Both America-visa applicants and Mainland brides were completely isolated for the duration of their interviews, and therefore it is impossible to produce any evidence of unreasonable treatment.

‒ Text by the artist

00:13:33 / 00:26:50
Color, Black & white
Continuous loop
35mm transferred to DVD
Single-channel video


Location Code: AV.CCJ.EBO
Year of Publication: 2008-09