F/EEL, THE LIFE OF AN EEL by Sheng-Wen Lo and Yi-Fei Chen

F/EEL was an interactive spatial installation by Sheng-Wen Lo and Yi-Fei Chen commissioned by the Embassy of the North Sea. F/EEL could be experienced by the public in the Shooting range at the Marineterrein Amsterdam/ Living Art Lab during the manifestation Welcome to the Parliament of Things, 20 November – 6 December 2020.

the journey of an eel

One evening in the North Sea, a baby eel was approaching the Dutch coastline. The trip had been long: from the Sargasso Sea it drifted 5,000 km on the Gulf Stream eastwards across the Atlantic Ocean. Moving upstream, it was eager to continue its life in the fresh waters, but little did it know the arduous obstacles ahead — a world not designed for eels. A world full of artificial hindrances: barriers such as dams and pumping stations, contaminated water bodies, invasive parasites and illegal poaching. And hence the journey began.

Imagine to be an eel

Intrigued by the strenuous yet perplexing lives of European eels – a critically endangered species that can live up to 80 years – artists Sheng-Wen Lo and Yi-Fei Chen created a space not designed for humans — a series of interactive contraptions that transpose these eels’ unfortunate encounters into human terms. Our lives may be difficult, but what is it like to be an eel?

In the interactive spatial installation F/EEL at the Shooting range at the Marineterrein Amsterdam, the public could individually and physically experience the life of an eel. Although one would never succeed in fully reconfiguring the eels’ subjective experiences into that of humans’, attempting with best effort, unlike not trying at all, opens up possibilities for us to imagine, question and discuss.

Sheng-Wen Lo is part of research team A Voice for the Eel, one of the Embassy of the North Sea’s research projects.

Thanks to: Marineterrein Amsterdam/ Living Art Lab — Amarte Fonds — Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst — Bankgiro Loterij Fonds — Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds &Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie

Graphics: The Anderen