Historie(s) of Nylon
2018-08-04 ~ 2018-10-21
MOCA Taipei and
Nylon Cheng Memorial Museum
Mixed media installation
書寫公廠 X 鄭南榕基金會・紀念館
Writing FACTory X Nylon Cheng Memorial Museum
A photograph printout of Nylon Cheng’s office after it was set on fire is pasted on the windows, the mirror walls at the two sides, and five mobile filing cabinets on the hallway dividing the museum and the school at the museum’s entrance hall.These have trans formed this gallery into an archive room of Nylon Cheng.
Nylon Cheng (1947-1989) is recognized as a symbol of justice; however, the value of such “symbolic” justice in today’s time has resulted in various confusions or different simplifications. This echoes with the fact that the various points in history that we are situated in are interwoven into an ecological pattern that can’t be seen in whole through the method of bisection or via “simplism”.
With the 31st anniversary of the lifting of martial law in Taiwan upon us, these famous words by Nylon is referenced: “the rest will be up to you”, with the objective second-person pronoun changed into “up to me”, and focus is placed on things related to Nylon. Bearing this in mind, the mobile filing cabinets in the exhibition space serve as object-oriented subjects, and through the mirrored reflections on the left and right, the texts and the filing cabinets seem to extend into infinity, forming a metaphor for Nylon’s bio-political ingenuity and dynamism. The following four matters are presented in the documents:
1. Strategy: The action strategies, thought strategies, and methodology basis for Nylon as an activist thinker, such as self-identity and strategies towards the media.
2. Education: Nylon’s approach to educating the youth in philosophy and logic, including course discussion and homework.
3. Religion: According to the thought process and analysis of Nylon’s notes, we gain insight into his ways of reaching a balance between promoting an issue and leaving space for independent thought.
4. Family: Apart from his role as an activist and thinker, Nylon’s role as a father is one of those aspects that we are unfamiliar with.
5. “Up to Me”: Despite the fact that the phrase “…the rest is up to you” has been repeated again and again, we should inspect what Nylon was talking about when referring to issues that are categorized as “the rest.” (We should first explore what issues are “up to me.” Only then can we be clear about issues that are “up to you.”)
We are able to once again gain control over the connection between an individual and the sense of justice from these documents, and how justice is more closely related to scientific understanding than ideology. The connection Nylon had held between rationality and freedom was ingenious, which did not just simply echo with the democratization of liberalism.
The words on the mirror walls are excerpts from various Era Weekly magazines published by Nylon, which were banned on several occasions, forcing him to cleverly alter the names of the magazine and the publisher on several occasions, in order to continue to publish it. Arranged on the mirror walls are the Era Weekly under different names, which comprehensively come to visually form the Chinese characters for the word “era” (時代). These historical documents are presented as a way to reexamine the revolutionary spirits and ingenious characteristics that took place, with different ways to discover and understand interpreted and also reinvented.