Copyright Linhuei Chen studio

His Deck Log Book

As a daughter of a deep-sea ship captain, Chen was used to her father’s absence since birth. Growing older, she gradually realized the trauma she and her siblings have due to his absence in their childhood.

After becoming a mother, she started to reflect on his absence in a different way: what was his ‘fatherhood’, when he couldn't be with us?  She collected the historical facts about him: the name of his first ship, when he became a captain, the destinations, the routes of his missions, the dates of important family events, along with the nautical maps. From these, she derived a 10 year-long journey of imagined fatherhood to form this deck logbook in which the captain of a ship needs to record the information about the date, weather, and special remarks on their mission. She transformed his internal thoughts into the notations added to the page. She reconstructed his life on the sea, to feel the emotions he could have had when he missed all the important moments of his family, just as if they could have looked at the same ocean.


Book: 21x 29,3 x 2,6 cm
Book case: 21,4 X 30 x 3,1 cm

This work reflects on the influences of one type of the contemporary diaspora: one of the parents has to leave home to work abroad in order to earn money for the family.  Coming from a fishing family, the artist's family has gone through different types of diaspora. With this work, she shows how the experiences of the diaspora influence a family from different members' perspectives, and at the same time, the reader can experience their struggles and social norms in that time in Taiwan. Chen considers her father's boat, although a moving entity, a status of his foreign residence/home, and maybe where he actually feels like home.