In August 2017, I undertook a month-long residency with the City of Hualien, Taiwan. I worked in collaboration with
local artists and community organizers for a weekend pop-up market and cultural venue called Ruins Market.
Under the supervision of a local marble sculptor, I made 150 marble betel nuts (檳榔) and placed them in a claw
machine covered in LED lights and signage, thereby creating the first ever 夾槟榔機 (Betel Nut Claw Machine). The
game was playable for $10 NT.
Sometimes referred to as "Taiwanese chewing gum", betel nuts are a decreasingly common natural chewable, and
known carcinogen. Their history in Taiwan and much of Southeast Asia dates back hundreds of years and has deep
roots throughout Indigenous cultures across the region. Today, they are linked to blue collar shift work, as chewing
them has an effect on the body similar to that of caffeine. During the country's rapid "Tiger" growth in the
1970's, it is said that workers were often given the nuts to increase productivity, leading to widespread addiction.
夾槟榔機 (Betel Nut Claw Machine)
Marble, Preserved Lau Ye, LED Lights, Claw Machine
During the residency, I also worked in collaboration with performance artist respectfulchild (Melissa Gan)
in the creation of an ambient sound/video installation at Ruins Market. In communication over social media, I shared
various images and local soundscapes that the artist responded to through musical composition. We were grounded
in an interest of understanding Asian history and geographies through digital and social media, and how our dislocated,
mediated communication manifests.