The Act of Revolt And
A Pen 103 Years Old
2020-02-22 ~ 2020-05-20
Mixed media installation, workshop
書寫公廠 X 獨立臺灣會
Writing FACTory X Taiwan Independence Association
Su Beng is one of the classic example in Taiwan’s modern history in terms of employing reading and writing as means of one’s political practice. In many speeches, he always emphasized on humanity and revolution in two strong and memorable passages—“one should first be a good person so that one can be a good Taiwanese”; “regarding social issues, artists first turn them into works after making observations; theorists then develop theories; and finally revolutionaries take actions accordingly.” Therefore, one learns to be a decent human being, then a revolutionary before becoming a writer of history. The two passages reveal Su Beng’s stance as an activist and the transitions in his practice. Such a fundamental and radical methodology can only be understood within the context of his life history. On the other hand, observing the literary genre of his writing, the chosen communication vehicle and means of circulation provide a channel for us to understand the dynamic relations between the writer’s arrangement, imagination, thinking and practice.
The Act of Revolt and A Pen 103 Years Old comprised of two parts: the light box section displays four types of writing – books, underground magazines, writing on the move and his memoir – that Su Beng has consistently continued throughout his life. Apart from writing, the audience can also see hints from objects related to other forms of his political practice.
The bookshelf in this “den” displays Su Beng’s books. The computer on the desk shows his writing, which the audience can print out at will. Displayed on the walls are the prefaces to the four versions of History of Taiwanese in 400 Years (1962, 1979, 1997 and 2012), which epitomize his thinking about history writing. In short, the gallery does not picture Su Beng as a teacher of Taiwan history but rather a student that has diligently studied for 103 years, during which he has found his own position in relation to Taiwan and the world through steadfast reading and practice while consistently writing and producing.