Lin Yi Chi

LEE : Please introduce yourself briefly.
LIN : I was born in Taipei County in 1986 and grew up in a dilapidated military village. I grew up being curious about my ancestors and the environment around me, which also became the source of my later creations. At first I was doing sculptures, but later on I found out I am more interested in filmmaking. I did experiments on using films to present “sculpturality” in college, filming series such as “One Second Sculpture.” I studied multimedia for my master degree, and that was when I decided to use dynamic images and films as my main medium.

LEE : How does ‘Taipei’ inspire you?
LIN : Taipei is the city where I grew up. Compared to its modern urban jungle look today, I actually prefer the aging areas of the city, like some low and broken houses. They are closer to the childhood environment in my memory. So in my works, I always dig into unofficial histories at the edges of the city, and find scenes in Taipei city that is full of old and new conflicts.

LEE : < Subtropical prayer >, < Ember Trilogy II >, < Revival Malady >.Your work is often remembered in memories or images at the demolition site of a military village. Do you have an opportunity to become interested in military?
LIN : I’m more interested in military villages where I grew up in. They are temporary soldier residences built when Kuomintang(KMT) government retreated to Taiwan. Because the villages are rather isolated, the values and life are different from the outside world. I grow up feeling confused about the villages full of military symbols, and they become the main topic I deal with in my works. In fact, I pay more attention is the life under the politics of the Cold War era in Taiwan than to the army.


LEE : In 12 and 13, you worked on the way to show the photographs and traces left by the demolition of the military unit. However, < Ember Trilogy II >, produced in 14, involves cinematic directing.
LIN : I’ve been thinking about videos should be more than just recording the current behavior since I started to do video works. In 2013’s "Revival Malady,” I started to use storyboards. And in 2014, I was trying to break through the boundary of filmmaker and actors. The filmmaker became the container that carried the ghosts of the land. So I acted and filmed “Ember Trilogy II” with my partners. This is a story about the return of soul who lost his live in the war.

LEE : Why are the military units left in ruins?
LIN : In fact, it is the houses allocated to military people that became ruins. Because they were built for temporary usage, after a long period of time, they were all shabby. Most of economic-capable soldiers and their family would choose to move out, so the houses without the residents gradually turned into ruins

LEE : You are interested in old technology or memory experiences such as VHS. Why is the old and old past important?
LIN : This is the first work I paid tribute to my father. I grew up in 90s, the time when every house had VHS player and everyone would rent some interesting movies or TV shows and play on it. There is a drum head inside VHS machine for reading images. When it got stuck, the video images couldn’t be played clearly. My father always opened the machine and used a piece of white paper to clean the drum head. I learned this even before I went to school. When I was about to leave graduate school, I started to think about what was the origin of my video creations. And I thought of VHS machine, which later developed into VJ (Visual Jockey) performance. I am a very nostalgic person, and that is why old stuffs always become the muses of my works.


LEE : Overall, is there a special reason for the emergence of extraordinary materials or situations in your work?
LIN : Because I studied sculpture first, the medium itself means a lot to me when it comes to video installation. When dealing with VHS work, I would rather use an old video tape machine than playing it on digital player. For me, the medium and the content of the work are highly related. As a filmmaker, my works are very sculpturality.

LEE : I'd like to ask about < Requiem for the dream of Father >. Why do you want to remember and reproduce your dead father again?
LIN : My father influenced me very deeply. In my childhood, I spent most of the time with him until he died when I was 7. He was a very romantic person. He didn't need to work, so most of the time he took me on adventures by motorbike. He sometimes drank and fought with his gangster friends, and sometimes he would have some anti-government acts. I viewed him as a hero when I was little. Because of him, I chose a profession that can be as free as him: artist. When I hit 30, after I finished filming others’ stories, I decided to look back and deal with the story of him and myself. As the statement of "Requiem for the Dream of Father" said,  this work is actually a requiem for both my father and me.

LEE : You explained your father “He was influenced by political parties and patriotism. "How did you describe this in the video?
LIN : He very much resisted the nationalism characteristics in the village. The scene in which I took fake gun and shoot randomly in the village actually happened before. My father and I once strolled around in the village carrying toy guns and pretending to shut those old soldiers he didn’t like, I thought it was a fun game. The act of throwing petrol bombs to the car in the beginning of the film is also one of his antisocial behaviors. I couldn’t understand the intentions behind all these acts. I never get his suppressed mind which was affected by the society until I faced and dealt with those acts again in my work.

LEE : What is the relationship between the person and the woman with long hair in the video?

LIN : The woman in long hair represented my mother. She met my father at a video arcade in 80s, and fell in love quickly. But they divorced before I turned one year old. My father became very depressed. In "Requiem for the Dream of Father" I added in the image of my stranger mom, so as to recreate the scenes they met and left each other, the experiences I could never feel when I was little.

LEE : < Running Stitch >, You participated in the residence program in Bangkok. Why did you want to talk to the locals in Bangkok?
LIN : I chose to come to Bangkok for residency because I am in love with its psychic atmosphere. Because my works also had such part, so I chatted with local residents about their spiritual experiences. And I found out Thai people believe that ghosts actually live with normal people. They also have the concept of reincarnation, so what happens in this life and who they meet are actually things that have been written in the previous life. This resident experience has inspired me to use images as a necromancy-like ritual.

LEE : Is there a reason why you are interested in a mysterious story or a ghost story?
LIN : Actually, Buddhism and Daoism religions in Taiwan have the concept of reincarnation. Since I have been living with my grandmother since little, I am deeply influenced by it. I prefer studying those supernatural events that cannot be explained than the contemporary science that controls the world view.

LEE : What does “Running stitch” that appeared in the first and last scenes and also the title of the work represent?

LIN : In the work, I use concept of stitching to connect three different stories and locations people mention in the stories. It is an urban legend stitched by three angles of views and stories.

LEE : What criteria did you select for the places that appeared in the video?
LIN : The structure of this work is like a triangle.  By the method of narrative sequence, I conducted interviews on the streets of Bangkok, Thailand. In addition, I matched local images obtained through on-site inquiries with those personal experiences I collected, pertaining to ghosts and urban hearsays. Three regional events are connected together as a loop with the concept of sewing and topology. With the use of dual screens, images of region and narrative are separated but presented simultaneously. Attempting to exceed the single property of linear documentary images, the space within narrative is broken and new connections are found. Together with the residents, we performed a local image experiment.

LEE : What criteria did you select for the places that appeared in the video?
LIN : The structure of this work is like a triangle.  By the method of narrative sequence, I conducted interviews on the streets of Bangkok, Thailand. In addition, I matched local images obtained through on-site inquiries with those personal experiences I collected, pertaining to ghosts and urban hearsays. Three regional events are connected together as a loop with the concept of sewing and topology. With the use of dual screens, images of region and narrative are separated but presented simultaneously. Attempting to exceed the single property of linear documentary images, the space within narrative is broken and new connections are found. Together with the residents, we performed a local image experiment.

LEE : What are your plans for the future?
LIN : I am currently working on “Island Penetration,” a residency film project about the moving history of my family in Southeast Asia.  As a messenger, I travel to places where my relatives live all around Southeast Asia, eliminate the geography limits and connect them together by making films. This is a two years project. I hope to finish it in 2019 and do a solo exhibition.