In Stones and Elephants, Chia-Wei Hsu draws upon storytelling to discuss the connections between Dutch Malacca, the figure of William Farquhar (as Resident of Malacca), the status of the local population and Farquhar’s interest in zoology. The story begins with the narration of two chapters of the ‘Hikayat Abdullah,’ an 1849 Malay literary work by Abdullah Abdul al Kadir, a Malacca-born Munshi of Singapore. There are three ways to approach the work: firstly, through Munshi Abdullah’s insight into Malacca’s Dutch architecture; secondly, in a parallel world shaped by supernatural belief and animals, which are represented as symbols of power, and lastly, historical data and facts that unfold along the strands of narration.
Commissioned by Singapore Biennale 2019 in collaboration with KADIST as part of
‘Frequency of Tradition,’ curated by Hyunjin Kim, a three-year series of seminars,
commissions and exhibitions taking place across Asia.
Chia-Wei Hsu (b. 1983, Taichung, Taiwan) is an artist, filmmaker and curator whose work merges the language of contemporary art and film, often unveiling the complex production apparatus employed in the filmmaking process. Delving beyond image creation, he also stresses the notion of action and agency. His work seeks to link the relationships between people, material and places that have been omitted in the narrative of conventional history. He curated the ‘Taiwan International Video Art Exhibition’ at Hong-Gah Museum (Taipei, 2018); selected shows include Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin, 2017) and the 4th Taiwan International Video Art Exhibition (Taipei, 2014). He lives and works in Taipei, Taiwan.