Illusive Waves: Breathing Underwater is Mimi’s (Milad Mozari and Mitsu Salmon) duo exhibition from their residency at Incheon Art Platfrom (March- May 2019). Speculating on Incheon’s history as a place of transit from its various ports, they create an installation of an illusive underwater trading network. In the 1800s before Jemulpo port was built, Korea was closed off to international trade. But below the ocean’s surface, a matriarchy of merchants worked trading underwater. Their stories are presented through speculative archives that speak to the past’s developments as related to contemporary inquiries. For example, the trade will exist not above water in boats but below in the water. What are the devices which allow people to breathe underwater? How is breathing while submerged a metaphor for the 19th-century industrialization and its environmental impact? How does a group of women merchants become a powerful force during this time?
The exhibition displays constructed artifacts, drawings and a multi-media installation from this imagined underwater workforce next to the Jemulpo Port. The piece interweaves the real with the imagined, as a way to both challenges how history is seen as objective as well as to expand upon the fantastical possibilities of this past.
Photos by Hsinyen Wei
Illusive Waves: Breathing Underwater
This video was shared in the installation. The sound takes from the sound of ports, breathing, and Khitan words (an extinct language speculated to be the basis of the Korean language).
Mt. Shamao is a site-responsive installation and performance inhabiting Lincoln Park’s Fern Room. The piece was made in collaboration with Milad Mozari through the series Florasonic by the Experimental Sound Studio. The work looks at man-made tropical paradises as connected to archives, importation, and utopias. For the past year, Mozari and Salmon have been researching in Taiwan at the Forestry Research Institute and drawing historical and metaphorical lines back to Lincoln Park Conservatory's past and present. While Ryozo Kanehira, Salmon’s great-grandfather was head of the Taipei Botanical Gardens in the early 1900s during the Japanese occupation. In the same period, Chicago created five botanical conservatories (including the Lincoln Park) which were displays of wealth and imperialism much like the botanical ventures by the Japanese in Taiwan. Playing with these parallel histories, Mozari and Salmon create a visual and sonic reflection that draw from the past archives and collected data of the two environments today. In conjunction with the installation was performative tours of the work. Movement and tableau take over the room, choreography which alludes to the study of plants, the growth pattern of trees, and the disconnectedness of displaced plants.
Performed by Alex Hayashi, Leroy Hearon, Carole McCurdy, Jasmine Mendoza, Milad Mozari, Harlan Rosen and Mitsu Salmon.
Man-made tropical paradises and an abandoned herbarium are the central images of Formosan Wood. The piece draws from Salmon’s great grandfather Ryozo Kanehira, a well-known botanist from Japan, who did extensive work in Taiwan during the Japanese occupation. He initially imported plants from all over Asia to Taiwan, to construct Japan’s desired tropical utopia. After the WWII, the herbarium and his researched was deserted. But who was this utopia built for? How does uprootedness interweave with the complexities of colonization? How do plant's processes connect to the body?
This installation was shown at the following:
2018 Murmurs and Palpitations through HER Environments , TCC Gallery Chicago
2018 Orwellian Broods through HATCH, Chicago Artist Coaltion
It was taken at Tsung Yeh Artist Village, where I am dancing with the trees that Kanehira wrote about.
Taipei Artist Village
From March-June 2018, Mozari and Salmon were artists in residence at Taipei Artist Village where they worked closely with botanists from Taipei Botanical Gardens. Using this research as well as actual archives from the Taipei Botanical Gardens they created an installation using live plants, projection, and sound.
Small-scale objects like hiking trail information stands and the plants’ shadowplay. On the floor is the book written by Ryozo Kanhira. The audience shadows interact with the installation. The projected video will slowly change colors and represent different parts of the history explored such as red for fire, and blue for cyanotypes and sunrises and sunsets.