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Return, 2018, kinetic installation, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.

Return, 2018, kinetic installation, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.

HSIAO Sheng-Chien

The Seventh Genre: Habitat/Zoo/National Park

Hsiao remembers walking down the road as a child after school and seeing noisily chirping sparrows perched in trees and on telephone wires; before long, this utterly natural scene was no more. The development of modern industrial civilization has forever changed the environment and the way in which human beings live. In many places the sounds of frogs, birds and crickets have been replaced by the rumble of cars and trucks. I seek to recreate the familiar sounds of his childhood memories, using the very same industrial technology that powers these machines.

In the center of the gallery, a section of tree trunk slowly revolves like a turntable, artificially lit with the shadows of wires creating the impression of leaves and branches at dusk. Meanwhile an electronic device plays bird calls—with the sound alternating between sources to mirror the auditory effect of a flock of birds moving from tree to tree. Machinery which might usually be seen as enacting modern ‘progress’ is altered, humanized, to carry a sense of hand-made warmth. The slowed pace of Hsiao’s slowly rotating trunk points to the mechanics of old musical boxes, fairground rides even, and objects from earlier times which conjure distant memories.


Born in Tainan in 1968 and currently resides in Kaohsiung. Graduated from Graduate Institute of Plastic Arts, Tainan National College of the Arts in 2001. Hsiao specializes in using mechanical kinetic installation, and deliberately presents an innocent and crude craftiness through utilization of materials when constructing machines and assembling objects. Hsiao won Yageo Tech-Art Award in 2003, First Prize at Taipei Digital Art Awards in 2014, and First Prize at Kaohsiung Awards in 2018. He held many solo exhibitions and participated in multiple group exhibitions. He was invited to Taipei Biennial 2018, 2020 Taipei Dangdai, and OK Museum of Modern Art in Linz Austria.