The Classic of Tilapia-eating monster - Jhouyu HSIEH

Patterns of Extinct Life III - The Classic of Tilapia-eating monster


Performance, Print, Mix-media installation, Video 2021-2022

Dimensions Variable

Performance Video (Tilapia-eating monster):

Performance Video (Return the environment to me):

The Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) is a kind of nocturnal animals with short neck, broad face and long tail. It is distributed on three continents of Europe, Asia and Africa. It is the most widely distributed among the existing otters of 7 genera and 13 species. However, since the second half of the 20th century, the rapid global industrialization, the extensive use of polychlorinated biphenyls and organochlorine pesticides that are harmful to the environment by humans, road killings, fur hunting, and the disappearance of habitats have caused a sharp decline in the number of otters. In the early 21st century, with the prohibition of harmful pesticides and artificial protection, the endangered trend of the number of otters has slowed down. The only remaining Eurasian otters in Taiwan area are in the outlying island named Kinmen. The wild otters on Taiwan’s main island have become extinct. In addition, the wild Eurasian otters in Japan, Liechtenstein, Netherlands and Switzerland have also disappeared.

In the past, Kinmen was an important outpost in the war. In 1949, the army stationed in Kinmen, in order to cooperate with the battlefield mission, the civilian gun hunting, the development of mountain forest land and the daily activities of the local people were restricted. The battlefield strategy carried out by Kinmen due to decades of armament needs has unexpectedly provided the island with a natural sanctuary. As a result, Kinmen is relatively sparsely populated and has no environmental damage compared to the main island of Taiwan area. Due to combat readiness and water demand for people’s livelihoods, the army excavated hundreds of reservoir ponds and lakes in Kinmen, which is extremely remote from the main island of Taiwan. These waters are intertwined with the coast and created a habitat that is more suitable for the survival and proliferation of Eurasian otters.

The Eurasian otter is a very territorial species, also has the habit of using excretion to indicate the area. According to the analysis of the Eurasian otter in the Kinmen and the DNA sequencing study, the Wu Guo fish is the most commonly supplemented food of the otters in Kinmen (Wu Kuo fish are mainly Geely cichlids and Nile hatched fish). Since 1946, Taiwan has introduced a variety species of Wu Kuo fishes. Under the improvement of aquatic technology, new ones have been cultivated. Wu Guo fish is a wide-salt species which can survive in sea or fresh water. It has also become an important economic fish species in Taiwan's aquaculture fishery. Wu Guo fish has become an important source of food for Kinmen otters due to its easy survival and strong reproductive ability. DNA of Wu Guo fish has been found in more than 70% of Kinmen otter samples. Wu Guo fish is an exotic species with a devastating threat to many native fish species, which may cause the extinction of Kinmen native betta and other fish species, but it has become the main food source supporting the endangered Kinmen otter.

In this work, I used the archives and research data of Kinmen otter to recode the regional ecological extinction in a narrative picture. In my story Here, the otter and Wu Guo fish go from conflict to fusion, and then form a kind of mysterious species that will be swallowed up in the future world.

The artist starts from her home islands and outlying islands, the extinct and remaining Eurasian otters, as an ecological scale that connects the three continents of Europe, Asia and Africa. It transcends the historical status and structure of life as a Taiwanese, and it seems to tell a global common state of species life. The state of life is intertwined and struggling between the extinction of native species.

歐亞水獺(Lutra lutra),是一種擁有短頸、闊面、長尾的夜行性動物,分布於歐亞非三大洲,在現存713種水獺中分布最廣,但20世紀下半葉開始,因為全球性的快速工業化、人類大量使用對環境危害的多氯聯苯及有機氯殺蟲劑、路殺、捕獵毛皮和棲息地的消失等因素,水獺數量急遽下降;在台灣地區的歐亞水獺僅存分布於離島金門,台灣本島的野生水獺已滅絕;除此之外,日本、列支敦士登、荷蘭及瑞士的野生歐亞水獺也已消失滅絕。