”The House”

Keelung Ciao Festival (contest & residency) Heping Island, Keelung, Taiwan, 2017

Over 50 photographs, a couple of days of interviews with people on the street, in offices, restaurants, three weeks’ work on the bamboo structure in heat and, at times, in rain. From this emerged my house-shaped image of the community. However, my real driving force was the opportunity to meet people from other cultures. The curiosity, how they would respond and what they would write on a piece of fabric. My questions were simple: what did they expect from life, what they wanted to change in their neighbourhood, life, city, state, on planet Earth? Fifty-one different answers were blowing in the wind. It was important that we could meet and that, despite the cultural differences between us, quite obviously our needs and dreams turned out to be very much alike. I would like to thank the Keelung community, which I had the opportunity to meet and talk to. This work is ours: mine and the residents.

Nick Kan (artist) wrote:
My name is Nick Kan, and I am from Taiwan, Taipei. In 2017, when Mariusz Soltysik was in Keelung doing installation, I was his translator. Mariusz shared with me his ”House” project which was to interview local people and to ask them in writing down their dream about future or any wish they had. At first I thought that idea was a little bit “wild”, or bold because Taiwanese was not used to tell you directly about their dream with strangers, not to mention to a foreigner. “Are you sure?” I sort of gave him a mild hint by voluming up the “you”. However it was obvious that Mariusz’s confidence was bigger than mine. He just replied me: “Why not?” It seemed that he was “strong” enough to knock down every stumble block ahead of him. No problem! It did not bother me at all, I said to myself. And I admired his nothing-to-stop-me courage and we became good friends. Mariusz worked hard at a sea shore to build his “House” with bamboo poles. Each pole was standing up upwardly and independently, i.e. there was no connection in between. He dug holes and inserted bamboos inside holes. So the house was abstract. He insisted precision of the distance between poles and paid attention to the height of poles so that they would look like a pictched roof. Also he did the house all by himself, refusing to have volunteers to help him. After he finished up the house, we went downtown of Keelung city to do the second part of the project: interviewing people.
We started with a drug store and it went super well. Actually it was run by a family. After knowing Mariusz’s idea, the grandma was very interested and excited in writing down her dream. At last she asked her daughters and grandchildren to do the same. Then there was jewelry store and it turned out that they appreciated artist’s idea about “house” and about everyone’s dream of future. Thus we got a very descent start. After a couple of days doing interview, there were about 40, 50 or so people interviewed and they all wrote down what their ideas about house. And we even ran out textile / scarfs (on which people wrote the answers) one day and we shopped it in a textile store. The boss was so inspired and felt so honoured that he gave Mariusz enough cloth for free. Moreover he also wrote down his dream in calligraphy.
Eventually one of local TV stations interviewed Mariusz. During the opening session the major of Keelung city stood in front of Mariusz “House”, listening his explanation. When people stood in front of Mariusz’s House, they would feel that House was sturdy as well as fragile: sturdy because the house was built with strong bamboo, fragile because house was made of people’s fragile dreams”.