The Taiwanese Jade Rabbit Spirit

Jessica Kao

This poster is the last one of a series of four 30″ x 40″ digital-printed posters. All of them together retell the Jade Rabbit myth with contemporary Taiwanese archetypes and vernaculars, and this one particularly appropriates visuals and languages from “PTT.”

PTT is the most popular and the largest Bulletin Board System (BBS) in Taiwan. This supposed-to-be-obsolete system is a text-only platform—it comes defaultly with white text on black background, and has developed a rich ASCII arts culture since it was established in 1995 by a student.

PTT is the heart of free speech and the new conscience of Taiwan. It is not only the place where people chat and exchange all sorts of information, but it also acts as the safest and the most active space for users to criticize government freely and anonymously, leak out scandals of officials and politicians, and organize and mobilize major social movements.

In the old myth, Jade Rabbit self-immolated under the burning sun to serve the need and then got lifted to the moon. In Taiwan, Nylon Cheng (鄭南榕) sacrificed himself for free speech in confrontation of oppression in the late 80s, and has lived in people’s hearts. After the 90s, people get on PTT and get on streets to fight for justice, human rights, state independence and everything that makes a better society. This poster depicts the ending of the myth and shows that “Jade Rabbit” is no longer singular, but plural in the modern Taiwanese society.

Jessica Kao