> Yuan Goang-Ming (twn)
Yuan Goang-Ming titles this looping video work Dwelling (2014), referencing a 1951 speech “…Poetically Man Dwells…” by German philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), who titled his text after a verse from Romanticpoet Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843). With severe housing shortage in Germany after World War II, Heidegger delivered two renowned philosophical texts with regards to architecture and dwelling that same year. It was in his view, despite living problems caused by housing shortage, to be at peace was a more important issue.
According to Heidegger, “When the poetic appropriately comes to light, then man dwells humanly on this earth…”1 In another text on mind settling, he further elaborates, “To dwell, to be set at peace, means to remain at peace within the free, the preserve, the free sphere that safeguards each thing in its nature.” 2 He continues to state that mortals exist between the sky, the eart h, and the divinities; only when all four are in harmony can peaceful dwelling be fulfilled3.
With “…poetically man dwells…” as a starting point, Heidegger speculates on modern mankind’s failure to dwell poetically. In other words, the “unpoetic dwelling” has become the norm. Heidegger believes that poetry is what really let us dwell, and that contemplating the nature of dwelling is contemplating human existence. In response to the philosopher’s inquiry, Yuan applies violence as an aesthetic means in Dwelling, conveying his apprehension of life and living, and his fear of annihilation.
In recreating a common scene of “poetic dwelling,” Yuan gives a microcosmic warning, magnifying the unforeseen explosion, and forcing the viewer to witness a catastrophe. The irony is that there is nothing poetic in the “poetic dwelling” but ruthless extermination. This inevitable mental breakdown unfolds in his other new pieces.
With the exhibition title “An Uncanny Tomorrow,” Yuan undoubtedly refers to the bleak present, even with indignation. Furthermore, in works Indication (2014) and Prophecy (2014), Yuan unusually expresses his discontent with the present political climate and status quo in Taiwa n with straightforward body language.
Text by Chia Chi Jason WANG, …Unpoetically We Dwell…Yuan Goang-Ming “An Uncanny Tomorrow” Solo Exhibition (Excerpt)
1 Martin Heidegger, “…Poetically Man Dwells…,” in Poetry, Language, Thought, trans. by Albert Hof stadter (New York: Harp & Row, Publishers, 1971), p. 229.
2 Martin Heidegger, “Building Dwelling Thinking” in Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 149.
3 Ibid., pp. 149-51.