Tracing the traces of the past
Currently, Hank and I are working on a new art project. We are transforming an old map of Taiwan Sugar Railways into a set of several CNC plotter drawings utilizing a customized “sugar ink” pen and a technique called “Aburidashi sugar print”. Through the lens of emerging digital technology, the artwork provides a new perspective to reinterpret the legacy of the past.
Taiwan Sugar Railways was Indispensable for the development of the sugar industry in Taiwan. During the Japanese period, many railway lines were built to transport large quantities of sugar cane and products produced throughout Taiwan. As the sugar industry declined, the railways also were abandoned, and now only a small part of it remains as a tourist line. Yet, one can still find artifacts of the sugar industry from the old period in many places.
Above: a test print of Aburidashi CNC print created by yukaotani
The concept of the artwork stems from my artwork titled Rediscovering Nostalgia, an ongoing series focused on the subject matters of the materiality of sugar and the history of Taiwan’s sugar industry. While joining a residency program at Kio-A-Thau sugar refinery in Kaohsiung in 2015, I started creating installations involving the technique of Aburidashi with sugar ink, and I have been developing the artwork since then. As O2 LAB, this time we came up with an idea of loading sugar ink into a marker pen for generating CNC line drawings. Though we are still in the midst of developing this new technique, we hope to create an eclectic style in which old and new coexist.