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4K, Single-Channel Video, Colour, Sound
Liou’s interest with cannabis stemmed from a 2012 collaboration with Dr. Alex Straiker, a research scientist at Indiana University in the U.S.
Inspired by the ancient worship of hemp in Japan, Human-Cannabis II: ASA (2020) is a memorial of the plant’s cultural heritage, enduring spiritual connections, and untold histories. The film depicts a story of a medieval hemp farmer, his relationship to the crop, and memories of a young girl. The first-person narration combines elements of poetry and fiction as one of Jawshing Liou’s first attempts to broaden his visual work into text-based expression.
Liou’s interest with cannabis stemmed from a 2012 collaboration with Dr. Alex Straiker, a research scientist at Indiana University in the U.S. Their discussion centered around human brains’ ability to produce close equivalence of THC and CBD, known substances from cannabis plants. These substances are responsible for a wide range of cognitive functions including the ability to learn and to forget. The result of their collaboration was a 4-channel video, Human-Cannabis I: Sonnet 27—featuring a prehistoric encounter between human and cannabis. The images in the video suggest a primordial force both in nature and in our minds. It is a journey of someone’s memories both of a child and as a child, blurred between the lines of remembering and forgetting.
As Liou turns his attention to the world’s cannabis history and culture, he discovers the beautiful and mysterious hemp tradition in Japan. In the Shinto coronation ceremony (Daijōsai), the emperor wears a hemp robe and receives an offering of hemp as a symbolic domain of the plant realm and silk as the animal realm. Hemp rope, paper, and fiber could be seen strung around Shinto temples and spiritual sites. Human-Cannabis II: ASA portrays hemp as a religious medium for the supernatural. The unsettled timeline is a metaphor for the mirrored images between illusion and reality, a notion of life that continues to be the main course of Liou’s work.
With the support of the Ministry of Culture of Taiwan.