Beigu Islet
hd video, 9’40”, 2021
ongoing project

Beigu Islet explores the notion of subjectivity through national borders, regional history, and the reciprocal gaze that constructs the subject. The eponymous Beigu Islet, roughly 300 sqft and submerged underwater half of the time, is a sea rock that marks the northernmost border of Taiwan. The video juxtaposes Beigu Islet with Tung Yung Lighthouse, the northernmost lighthouse in Taiwan, both on Dongying Island, Matsu. The elusive visibility of the sea rock becomes a metaphor for the ever imaginary state of national borders that capture the political subject. 

The two places were historically connected through the British SS Sobraon’s shipwreck in 1901. In the late 19th century, the British had constructed lighthouses across the coast of China and the offshore islands to expand colonial economic control. The Sobraon struck Beigu Islet and sank, which led to the construction of Tung Yung Lighthouse. 

In the video, the border and the lighthouse both allude to a visual system that navigates. I envision a two-way gaze through which the viewing and the political subject intersect. The subject is oriented by a fixed yet slippery topographical marker to locate itself, anchoring and being anchored, pointing to the ambivalent state of Taiwanese territory and subjectivity.