In 1970 Ki Lun-Tai, an abbot in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, decided to become a Buddhist monk. He built a thatched hut in front of his house, adopted a schizophrenic as his disciple, and began to raise pigs and chickens with his new helper, whom he kept on a line of string, much like a leash.
Within 20 years Li Kun-Tai, by now rechristened (by himself) Hieh Kai Feng, had 600 deranged helpers, most chained together, almost exclusively consigned to him by their families, distraught by the shame of having to look after lunatics, or socially unacceptable misfits.
Ten years later, in 1999, Long Fa Tang the Temple of the Dragon was recognised as the largest chicken farm in Taiwan, with a million chickens laying eggs and defecating in almost equal proportions. They are tended by helpers from the 700 mental patients in the care of the Temple, wading through slurry, eggs and chicken corpses.
Hieh Kai Feng had by now sought to sophisticate the impracticalities of string, and with such a large number of inmates found that a light chain was the most efficient form of control. So he chained them together, one by one, through noon and night. He is delighted with the results, and proud of them. He firmly believes he is not only taking care of his patients but also helping alleviate the tremendous burden placed on their families.
Chien-Chi Chang, born in Taiwan in 1961, took these photographs with a sense of awe. He has produced a catalogue of infinite humanity and its consequences, an artless choreograph of emotions. They are repetitive, and benefit from that. They are squalid, careful and uncomfortably reminiscent of humours, whims and childlike uncertainties.
Publication Year: 2002
Binding: Concertina bound with removable hardback cover and aluminum box
Format: 145 x 210
Illustrations: 48 duotone B/W and 600 lines perinch
Retail Price: UK £140.00 \ US $220.00 \ EURO €160.00 \ CAN $ \ AUS $
List: Photography/Social Reportage
Picture of the year International 2003
Winner - best photography book
GRIN Awards (Gruppo Redattori Iconografici Nazionale)
won 3rd prize.
Pictures of the Year International 2003
Best Photography Book
Photo-Eye Awards 2003
nominated in the best photography books of 2003 category
Photo District News 2003
included in the PDN annual in the best photographic books section
No press available