Risograph printing, 2022
Young people in Taiwan and abroad cannot afford housing.
We belong to a ghost generation, lost in the empty space between low wages and high housing prices, floating from job to job, rental apartment to rental apartment, haunting a world we were promised as children but later found it is out of our reach.
Considering the traditional Taiwanese ritual of burning paper houses for the ancestors, this artwork asks the question: shouldn’t we burn paper houses for the young ghosts too?
These paper houses, designed via 3D architectural software and printed using Risography, are ready to fold and burn. Inside, tiny furniture, doors and windows are reminiscent of one's childhood dollhouses. Similarly, the houses, when displayed in their original state, not yet cut and folded, resemble the back of cereal boxes we'd look at every morning during our childhood, which could be cut out and folded into models of cars or planes. Not quite childlike, the artwork thus carries a shadow of playful nostalgia which, when confronted with the gravity of a paper house burning ritual originally destined to the ancestors, makes its generational aspect even more salient. Promises were erased by the passage of time, leaving the young unable to fulfill their dreams.
The paper burning ritual is traditionally seen as way of bridging the material world with the immaterial world of the deceased through a plume of smoke and ashes. This artwork turns the process inside out, showing that the market world, a system of belief where housing is left to market speculation, is in itself a smokescreen, a simulacrum turning an entire generation into ghosts, unhoused, forever lacking a sense of place.