The Birth of Julung-julung: The Aquatic Dragon

Yi Xin Tong

  • Medium:HD video with sound
  • Year:2019-2021
  • Duration:24' 52''


The Birth of Julung-julung: The Aquatic Dragon documents the artist’s travels to popular tourist destination Dinawan Island, Malaysia, where he encounter a local fish called “julung-julung.” Curiosity over the encounter led to a series of investigations that resulted in the artist’s creation of a lucky charm for the island. The main source of food for local fishermen, julung-julung is pronounced similarly to “jiao long,” the name for aquatic dragons in Chinese mythology. This phonetic similarity led the artist to ponder the changing ecological and spiritual worlds of Southeast Asia. Instead of following conventional scientific methods to investigate whether the dragon swam from China to the region, Yi Xin Tong made a percussion instrument in the shape of a julung-julung out of metal and wood. As it emerges, it views the sea with indifference and distance, as if the video is repeatedly showing scenes of eye rolls.

The work proposes an attitude of “metaphysical goodwill” toward the environment and an inclusive approach to people, other living and non-living things. It invites the viewer to consider whether reciprocity, a fundamental practice of human society, is equally essential in restoring the disturbed balance between humans and nature.

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