Back to list

Artist builds 'iTitanic' to warn against pursuit of modernization

2012/05/13 17:04:20

Taipei, May 13 (CNA) A Taiwanese artist has created a contemporary "iTitanic" using modern gadgets to warn people of the consequences of the pursuit of technology and modernization.

The work, on display at an exhibition in Taipei, is just one of a series of events around the globe marking the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.

Eco-artist Vincent Huang used some 15 iPhones, HTC smartphones and iPads and several circuit boards to create a small-sized replica of the Titanic.

Described as an unsinkable liner, the Titanic hit an iceberg and sank on April 15, 1912, just four days after it began its maiden voyage from England to New York.

While the Titanic symbolized the peak of technological development in the last century, the iceberg represented nature's fury, Huang told CNA in a recent interview.

"This is similar to today's society, where people are crazy about high-tech products such as iPhones, iPads and HTCs," he said, explaining that the first letter in his work "iTitanic" refers to such advanced devices.

Huang's "iTitanic" is part of an enclosed live marine ecosystem set up in an aquarium tank, which also includes several colorful corals and other sea creatures.

"The live marine system is just like the earth, which has limited resources," the 41-year-old artist said. "Consuming the resources in the tank, the corals symbolize human beings."

The "Unsinkable iTitanic" exhibition opened on April 17 at an artistic center in Neihu, part of which is still under construction, and the "iTitanic" will remain there for two years.

Visitors will be able to come back in 2014 and see how the ecosystem has fared, with the result a possible scenario for what may happen to the planet humans live on, he said.

"Are we heading toward a better future or are we just, like a speeding train, heading toward devastation?" asked Huang, who has devoted himself to eco-art for some 10 years.

Asked why he used corals in his "iTitanic" work, Huang said the state of marine ecosystems has become a focal issue in recent years, especially because of how marine life is being affected by global warming.

Huang said the rising temperatures of the Earth's waters could threaten the survival of corals, which live in waters ranging in temperature from 23 to 28 degrees Celsius, and he hoped his work would draw more attention to the issue.

The "iTitanic" is not Huang's first try at featuring a marine ecosystem in his work.

Last year, he created an exhibit that featured corals and a number of iconic landmarks from different countries. Replicas of Taipei 101, Big Ben in London and the Empire State Building in New York, among others, were placed in an aquarium tank to symbolize how climate change leads to rising sea levels.

The work was shown in Sydney in 2011 and was well received.

For his next project, Huang said he is planning a concept that features luxury goods in a marine ecosystem to satirize the current obsession for expensive products.

"To complete the project, I need volunteers to donate their Louis Vuitton handbags," he said.

(By Elaine Hou)