Oology and Others
The collection of eggs and nests as a perhaps confusing (or almost jocular) hobby began in 18th century Britain and has since expanded into a systematic, socially respectable, and lucrative collecting pastime. Although sporadically studied under ornithology, it was more often seen as having an ornamental effect. Around the mid-20th century, wildlife protection laws gradually banned private ownership of oology collections, and many private collections had to be turned over to museums. The large collections indirectly led to unexpected interdisciplinary research thereafter, but they also led to oology gradually falling out of public view and becoming an almost forgotten collecting discipline.
From once-rustic objects to scientific collections, the ambiguity of oology has led to a dispersed discussion of its facets. But beyond all the research practice, beyond the perfect-but-fragile eggs and the ordinary-but-magnificent nests, it is the simple-but-honest motivation of the collector that arouses my interest: a human, primitive desire to collect and possess a beautiful product of nature.
As the field of research related to oology spans a wide range. I try to organize each of Project OOO's presentations in chronological order, each time a certain period. Some works will approach canonical oology research, some are jumping in irregular directions, and some are just imaginary, thus expanding the meaning of what is so-called oology.
The first presentation takes as its starting point 2020-2022, when domestic (human nest) life is the norm. The works in An Eggy Video Meeting, a series of drawings inspired by the video conference, the most common communication method of the past two years, will question whether observing nature can be considered a social awkwardness from a non-human perspective. In the ground-installation Domestic Dominion Degradation, the form of eggs and nests were deconstructed, they are interpreted as a kind of consensus between nature and man-made geometric. The materials themselves–and the reference to a popular dinosaur blockbuster series– allude to the instability of our current age. Last, Uterus Is a Kiln, Egg Is Fired, a texture map created with photogrammetry of one hoopoe figurine, remade into a tempera and a short animation, comparing the similarity between eggs and ceramic with the thread of topography, and digital algorithms with painting using organic materials.
(This project developed during a residency at Delfina Foundation (UK); work stipend offered by Ministry of Culture (TW) and the Department of Cultural Affairs, Taipei City (TW); exhibition supported by Senate Department for Culture and Europe (DE) and Taishin Bank Foundation for Arts and Culture (TW)
An Eggy Video Meeting
Pencil, color pencil, marker pen, gel pen, acrylic ink, paper
19.75×34.95 cm, 20.6×33.2 cm, 18.2×33cm, 19.7×30.3 cm
During an eggy video meeting, my concentration often wanders to the space behind the participants. The blurry background renders the boundary of proper manners fuzzy. When peeking into a stranger's household through a screen, I feel a bit awkward, but not even sorry.
These video sessions stream from the nests of birds, and without a human host. We don’t know who announced it? What’s the agenda? Or who’s speaking now? The non-human embryo (egg) carries a human name, as many birds share their name with people. Some are originally bird's names but are given to people because of the lovable qualities of the birds. Or some were named after their discoverer, to honor their achievement involuntarily.
A home or a nest represents the small nature of one individual, but our instinct continues to drive us to explore the greater nature external. Occasionally, we collect objects from nature. This is not a thing to brag about, but I see it as a reminder of how unexceptional we are. To explore also means to disrupt. Among all the non-human creatures, a bird's home – the nest and the egg – is remarkably exquisite and has a variety that has enchanted many of us. This is true even though in people's etiquette, one’s living and breeding place should be screened for privacy. The nests and the eggs of birds, still exposed from the discreet nature, have become collectible specimens or images, public in the hands of humans, without the birds being asked.
(UK, slang) Slightly annoyed.