National Freeway 1 National Park
Dual channel video (28:50), bird skull, woodwork paint with acrylic, print, inkjet print
Between the main road and the entry or exit ramps on a freeway, there is always a designated zone used as a driving and visual buffer. This space could be viewed as a green patch, a relatively undisturbed area isolated by busy traffic, making it a precious place for animals and plants to grow in a city, where their habitats are deprived. Its ecology is even richer than those pre-planned parks. The traffic exiting and entering from the ramps form the borders and preserve the nature. Although it might be accidental, the underlying logic of natural conservation achieved through man-made restrictions somehow coincides with and responds to that of national parks and nature reserves.
I choose National Freeway 1’s Taichung Interchange as my case study. It is because it lies in the city center, connecting National Freeway 1 and Taiwan Avenue, Taichung’s arterial road, with the Taichung-Changhua Expressway (Provincial Highway 74) and the High Speed Railway running parallelly on both sides. The western side of the freeway is a vast area of fields with limited development; and the wetland of Fazi River provides sources of food for multiple bird species. Within the area of the interchange, the dense growth of Formosa acacia trees offers an ideal habitat for nesting.
This project adopts various approaches to depict the unique qualities of this environment. For the first part, a method similar to ecological study is used to display bird skeletons that I have found. Time-lapse cameras are set up to record 24hrs and capture the dynamic landscape comprising animals and plants in the interchange and the traffic flow in the background. One camera starts recording from midnight, and the other begins at noon. Two videos are screened in sync, forming a comparison between the day and the night while creating an endless loop (Around the Clock). For the second part, I make collages of signs and scenery images from real national parks, turning them into new wooden signs (Park Logo), postcards (Postcards) and tourist maps to make this place “official,” claiming it a “national park” and inviting residents in Taichung to have an excursion; thus, the function of the national park for providing tourism and leisure activities is fulfilled (Road trip).
National Freeway 1 National Park unveils the co-dependence and symbiosis of nature and city as well as an interstitial possibility that exists by accident and in a state of opposition between development and environmental protection. It is a private paradise co-created by the “national freeway” and the “national park.”
Performance, inkjet print