A Message from the Sea

2019

Artist Book, Lino printing with Handwriting on Tracing Paper

(W:21cm, H:8cm for each page; each book contains 6 pages)

"BOOKMARKS" artists' book fair, Edinburgh, UK

客從遠方來                  They came far away

遺我雙鯉魚                They left me this fish

呼兒烹鯉魚                When I cut it open

中有尺素書                I find a message in its belly

素書有萬物                A message consists of everything

河海遙呻吟                A message from the distant sea

This artist book is about fishes’ belly. Everyday people found different kind of things in fishes’ stomach: plastic, food waste, even flip flop, batteries and bullets. It reminds me of an old Chinese poem which use fish as a metaphor for letters or messages sent by families far away. I put the old poem into a contemporary context, and I believe all the things inside fishes’ belly is actually a message sent by the sea. The sea collects things we threw into it, hides them in the fish which we catch as food, trying hard to reach us.

Salmon is a beloved dish in my family. They are rich in nutrition, contained the good fat omega3, and thought to be a great food for lowering one’s blood pressure. In fact, we don’t actually have any edible salmon in Taiwan, they are all imported from Norway, Chile or New Zealand. However, I learned a great deal of information about salmon’s living condition in Scotland, where most of the “Norwegian salmons” actually come from. It was a shocking news to me, not just because I ate so many highly toxic salmons in the past, but how easy we are to believe an image or statement made by others.