Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Li-Chun Sun

Curator and Art critic

Of these five artworks, "Human Layer_Taipei" by Marco Casagrande and Martin Ross was most provocative in nature.

Marco Casagrande mounted on a Trojan Horse in Taipei.

They worked together with students of Tamkang University architecture department to create eight large iron horses. Starting our separately in Taipei County and other various points and traveling along roads toward Taipei City Hall, they attracted looks of interest from pedestrians and passing cars, as the objects (the iron horses) suddenly added a new dimension to Taipei's physical landscape - for example the participation of police authorities.

The army of Trojan Rocking Horses standin in line, waiting for the attack, in the Tamkang University base camp.

The city's residents made curious inquires, and along the road the artists distributed a "Human Layer_Taipei" newspaper, stirring up Taipei's social landscape with these iron horses that invoked the metaphor of the Trojan horse from Greek mythology, and creating a different mapping method - by inciting a response.

This method of mapping the landscape by stirring up a reaction from it was achieved by placing unfamiliar objects in the social landscape, and inciting collisions and contradictions in order to demonstrate the artists' wish to toss out questions and criticisms. The significance of this act of "mapping" comes from the reaction of the "human layer" of the landscape after this "tossing out" has occurred, absorbing a cross section of the social landscape as reflected by citizens from within its different human layers (the opinions of citizens regarding the city government).

Mayor Ma Ying-jeou, now the President of Taiwan (2008-), reading the Trojan Rocking Horse messages.

Thus, the "human layer" is also a part of the social landscape. It presents society's classes and ideologies, the culture of its spaces, the human textures of the city, the interaction of people and their environment, the material world and popular symbols from a variety of angles. Thus, Marco Casagrande's and Martin Ross's "Human Layer_Taipei" stirring up the city's multi-layered cultural landscape, much like turning over or stirring up the layers of a garbage heap, revealing its many layers of rich cultural texture and contents.

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