y. 2019
e. Are Electronica Festival x「STWST48x5 STAY UNFINISHED」

Dangerous Soybean, Vibrating Tofu

Discourse Shih-Chieh Ilya Li, Escher Tsai

The soybean (sometimes called the “great bean” in Chinese) is the main material for all kinds of bean food products, in particular tofu. In the East it is an important foodstuff and source of protein, as well as a cultural symbol. The effects of globalization have made soybean supply and demand a bargaining chip or a weapon in a  global trade war. The installation Soybean Futures converts global soybean futures index data into sound waves; the speaker’s vibrations shake the tofu on the installation, suggesting how these up-and-down fluctuations affect human life.  The installation’s production process: research and make tofu suitable for the vibration effect; extract global soybean market data, organize and analyze this material and convert it into sound waves. Changes in the global soybean futures index determine the extent of the vibration -- the greater the fluctuation in the market, the more visible the vibration of tofu, and vice versa.
The vibration of a piece of pure white, delicious tofu on a plain dark plate represents the vast history and conflict in the development of human civilization.

Market vibration to manufacturing process
The work Invisible Airs by YoHa (a collaboration between Graham Harwood of Goldsmiths, University of London, and Matsuko Yokokoji) made use of expenditure data from the Bristol City Council, converting pounds sterling into pounds of compressed air. Taking open data on topics like welfare for senior citizens and the demolition of a library, it was a transformative process turning virtual monetary figures into physical work.
The vibration changes in the soybean futures market, in Dimension Plus’s design, act as the starting point of reverse engineering, becoming the work’s source to continue to vibrate and fluctuate; the vibration is both an environmental variable in the making of tofu and also a cyclical force transformed into miniature etching.

Time to “weaponize the soybean once more”
In the links between the United States and the world’s main agricultural export economies, produce from the natural environment has been “purified” by industrialized agricultural practices, joining the capitalist countries, combed by mass-scale farming and mechanical power, becoming a link in the operating logic of capitalist nations. A self-declared socialist state with a long history of a processed bean diet as an importing country of course has its own way of using the soybean. And this, with socialist China sending out tour groups to all advanced countries but using one integrated system to transfer all surplus, has the wonder of “playing the same tune on different instruments.”
In this China-US trade war, who has ever considered what soybeans themselves might want? The soybean’s appearance on the planet was certainly not later than that of humanity as a species, why then in evolution has it always had to serve the ways of humans? When soybean became a large-scale species, its decay can bring aflatoxins leading to the destruction of organisms; why haven’t the functions of “climate change soybean,” “anti-GM soybean” or “radiation-resistant soybean” blended to give rise to a “pure natural” new form of soybean? Does not every link in the life cycle of a soybean plant have the ability to go beyond capitalism and national planning, and go its own path?
It is the moment to compose a new strategy for the great history of struggle between the human world and nature.

The Virtue of Vibration
Waveform construction that mixes mathematics and economics, and vibration that penetrates the soybean futures market, these provide the core virtues and characteristics of the processed product tofu. When integrated with a wireless oscillator, people will never be able to reference tofu, stare at tofu, or eat tofu without also accepting these internal, mixed waveform’s cyclical vibrations.
Does this mean in the age where God is dead, through science and war we have once more linked up time?
Are the litigants in the China-US trade war, under the logic whereby each is given over to capital and national interests, able out of this new war to invent some new possibilities? These vibrations should let us take all past battles, pain and amnesia related to soybean, and converge them into this new form of tofu. We all will feel low vibration, disturbance in the tofu, just overflowing a little bit. Let us see the arrival of the future.

Soybean War: Micro-overflow
A soybean tattoo seeks to transform an unseen cage into a visible locus. Just as Dongpo pork is held in shape with straw cord, the soybean immersed in a tofu state likewise needs some sort of binding to grapple with intrinsic and extrinsic reality. Now it is no longer a “simple” soybean, rather a soybean weaponized by a new strategy; taking a subtle tattoo, like a tear in the corner of Cry Baby’s eye, symbolically entering a new spacetime to battle for the planet.


作品論述 李士傑,蔡宏賢

黃豆或稱大豆,為製作各種豆製食品的主要原料,特別是豆腐,是東方的重要食物與蛋白質來源,以及文化的象徵。隨著全球化的影響,黃豆的供需已轉換成了全球貿易戰爭中的籌碼與武器,「黃豆期貨指數」作品將以全球黃豆期貨指數的數據轉換為聲波,透過喇叭的震動影響裝置上的豆腐,意味著這些上下波動的數據將如何影響著人類的生活。 裝置作品製作過程,將研究與製作適合震動效果的豆腐,擷取全球黃豆市場數據,整理與分析資料,轉換為聲波,全球黃豆期貨市場波動指數的數值改變影響震動程度,當指數的波動越大,豆腐的震動就越明顯,反之亦然。

英國倫敦金匠學院教授 Graham Harwood YoHa 的作品《看不見的諸空氣》(Invisible Airs),將英國布里斯托市政府結算資料庫支出數值,以英鎊做單位,轉換為壓縮空氣的磅數,來幫市政府完成針對老人福利、拆毀圖書館、開放資料等特定主題,從虛擬貨幣數值到真實做功的轉化過程。
黃豆期貨交易市場的震盪變化,在Dimension Plus的深度設計規劃中,作為逆向工程(reverse engineering)的起點,成為作品持續震盪波動的來源;震盪力既是製作豆腐的環境變數,也被轉化成微型蝕刻的一個週期性的作用力。



黃豆紋身,試圖把不可見的牢籠轉化成為可見的軌跡。就像東坡肉要用草繩來規訓,沈浸在豆腐狀態的黃豆,同樣需要某種束縛來與內在與外在的現實搏鬥。如今已經不再是「單純」的黃豆,而是再度被新的戰略給武器化的黃豆,將帶著微妙的紋身,彷彿 Cry Baby 眼角的一滴眼淚,象徵性地走入了為地球而戰的新時空。

Escher Tsai, Keith Lam

Tofu making
Jess Huang

Installation Design
Wei-Ting Lin

Hardware engineer
Darry Dai

Software engineers
Yu-Tung Hsiao, Seth Hon

Sound performers
Seth Hon, Weiwei Huang

Was invited to join 2019 Are Electronica Festival x「STWST48x5 STAY UNFINISHED」

Installation 6.-8.SEPT 2019 STWST Upper Maindeck

Sound performance 7. SEPT 2019 Saturday, 18:00-18:30 Maindeck Staircase

Tofu Making workshop 7. SEPT 2019 Saturday, 11:00-01:00 STWST Kitchen

The exhibition is made possible with support from ministry of culture, Taiwan.






受邀參加2019 奧地利林茲電子藝術節「STWST48x5 STAY UNFINISHED」展演及主題展。

裝置作品 6.-8.SEPT 2019 STWST Upper Maindeck

聲響表演 7. SEPT 2019 Saturday, 18:00-18:30 Maindeck Staircase

自製豆腐工作坊 7. SEPT 2019 Saturday, 11:00-01:00 STWST Kitchen

電子藝術節「STWST48x5 STAY UNFINISHED」展演由文化部補助