Although Taiwan is a de facto independent territory with a vibrant economy and robust democratic institutions, it remains internationally isolated. Most international organisations of which China holds membership either bar Taiwan from participation or only allow it as a non- state actor. Noncompliance indiscriminately irks Beijing's and leads to the threat of economic sanctions. Taiwan is both the most populous nation and the largest economy outside the United Nations. About 70% of Taiwanese people under 40 consider themselves as Taiwanese rather than Chinese. China has threatened to use military force in response to any formal declaration of independence or should Chinese leaders feel that peaceful unification with the island nation becomes unlikely. As Taiwan’s geographic location in the South Chinese Sea is crucial for both China and the United States, a proxy power struggle is being fought over Taiwan. This project deals with the ambiguity and complexity of Taiwan as China’s weak spot. How a new generation of Taiwanese people struggle for a Taiwanese identity, and how China is using intimidation and propaganda to undermine this longing for self-determination. However small Taiwan might be, its functioning democracy is a thorn in the side of China's leaders.
"There is a lot of information in Franky Verdickt’s photographs of urban scenes in contemporary Taiwan. The photos are distinguished by their controlled (cool) color and bright night-time lighting. They artfully blend a hyperreal sharpness of focus with the blur of speed. And, finally, the isolation of the humans in these scenes makes them seem small and insignificant amidst the soaring scale of the surrounding architecture and infrastructure. The way these pictures are made, Taiwan feels like a sci-fi, alien place — a cold, impersonal and hostile environment where individual humans seem rather unimportant. It is telling, then, that the artist’s statement is rather political, too, finding metaphorical meaning in the feeling of isolation one can experience on the streets of Taiwan, compared with the political limbo that the state of Taiwan finds itself in relation to mainland China and the rest of the world."