On The Other Side of Sea 
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Wen-Li Chen

RESIDENCY 蘭斯柏勒鎮駐村計畫
Statement 創作陳述

On the Other Side of Sea


In 2020, I was awarded an artist residency opportunity in Lanesboro. The residency was later rescheduled to summer 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time, my three-year-old child was unable to get vaccinated so I decided to participate via a hybrid model. It was an uncertain time yet I collected materials and did on-site research in Lanesboro, while also conducting interviews and workshops online with local residents.

My goals with the residency looked to further develop conversations and reflections around intergenerational issues, namely how histories are made, maintained and made vulnerable to outside factors. By way of personal /family stories and with archival materials, such as documents, photographs or objects, my work with the Lanesboro community uses one’s past encounters and recollections here in the Untied States as a way to seek commonality and difference from my own experiences and family relations in Taiwan.

The result became an artist book and installation to explore “what is lost (unintentional) or omitted (intentional) during generational exchange.”

During my residency, I hosted one-on-one interviews with Lanesboro residents as a means to gather voices and context for my artist book and installation. My goal throughout the residency was to connect to and continue a similar dialogue between individual, family, community and generation.

I had several informal conversations with Lanesboro and Hualien residents individually, and these meetings became a platform to share their stories about their archives, documents, photographs, or stories. To meet their generosity, I offered free scanned services for residents to digitize their family archives. At the end of my residency, I created and shared a digital archival platform that included the residents' interviews and photographs from both Hualien and Lanesboro, in addition to a handmade book reflecting on the experience of this residency and previous projects as another extension of the whole theme. All this was done with the permission of all those who participated.

In closing, I want to thank Anne, Dan, Deb, Jane, Jie-Mei, Kara and Melissa who shared their resources and stories with me so as to grow through their personalities, stories, experience and histories of Lanesboro and Hualien. The place and the people there are the inspiration of this book. 

March 2023