South Taiwan (Jun 2017)

On 4 and 5 June 2017, I participated in the two-day workshop/forum, Mutual Companionship Forum–Asian Connection: Reassembling of Image, Place and Body, at Soulangh Cultural Park, Tainan. This event is co-hosted by the Cultural Bureau of Tainan City Government and Tainan National University of the Arts.

On a personal level, I find the forum fascinating for various reasons. In Southeast Asia, it is rare to find initiatives in which straight photography is given an integral place within the context of contemporary art. In this forum, folk practices, photography and contemporary art are cajoled to dialogue, mediated through the spatial network of religious sites in Tainan and South Taiwan.

During the day of 6 June, I visited the religious and cultural sites in Chiayi.

At night, I made a presentation titled Photography in Southeast Asia: Methodology and Findings at the Doctoral Program in Art Creation and Theory, Tainan National University of the Arts. The intensive session lasted well over three hours, with me delivering a talk based on my recently published book, Photography in Southeast Asia: A Survey (NUS Press, 2016). I spent the second half of the session taking questions from the audience. Gong Jow Jiun, who heads the programme, made sure that everyone in his class raised difficult questions!

【交陪論壇.亞洲連線:影像.場所.身體的重新組裝】

論壇宗旨與目的

跨越東亞與東南亞的脈絡,民間藝術、無形文化與當代藝術實踐,如何可能找到重新組裝與對話的路徑?以「近未來的交陪:蕭壠國際當代藝術節」為基底,透過展覽呈現的攝影中介、實驗建築、異質裝置、民間藝術等因子,重新思考當代藝術實踐的當下與未來,創造藝術行動者與文化生產的嶄新網絡,是這個論壇的目的。

我們邀請了日、韓、港、新、越、泰等國的藝術家與策展人,在這個問題的基礎上進行發言,同時也邀請台灣的藝術家、策展人與學者進行回應,希望在影像/場所/身體的討論過程中,實質上跨越過東亞與東南亞的文化脈絡,向未來提供一個潛在的國際合作路徑。

“Mutual Companionship Forum Asian Connection: Reassembling of Image, Place and Body”

Aims of Forum

Tainan National University of the Arts and Cultural Bureau of Tainan City Government are the co-hosts of the Mutual Companionship Forum program from 3th to 6th June 2017. Based on the exhibition of Kau-Puê, Mutual Companionship in Near Future: Soulangh International Contemporary Art Festival, this conference-workshop, titled Asian Connection: Reassembling of Image, Place and Body, focuses on the creative practices and theoretical thinking of reassembling between folk art, intangible culture and contemporary art.

We believe that a platform of Asian dialogues is needed to bridge the different notions of art through the mediation of photography, experimental architecture and the heterogeneous installation of exhibition.

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4 Jun 2017 / Tainan / The forum opens with a presentation by artist-curator Chihiro Minato, titled “On the Porous World Model: The Invisible Body of East Asia”.
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Curator Suejin Shin presents her survey work on Korean contemporary photography.
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4 Jun 2017 / Tainan / Undergrad students from Tainan attempt to marry their research on architectural heritage with learning to perform the Nanyin.

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4 Jun 2017 / Tainan / Manit Sriwanichpoom presents his ongoing curatorial work in rediscovering the “forgotten” masters of Thai photography.
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4 Jun 2017 / Tainan / Hosted dinner at the historic Sakariba (沙卡里巴) Restaurant, Tainan

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5 Jun 2017 / Tainan / Miss Zheng, the newly appointed Minster of Culture, speaks to the forum on the second day of the event.
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5 Jun 2017 / Tainan / Gong Jow Juin, organiser of the forum and curator of “Kau-Puê, Mutual Companionship in Near Future: Soulangh International Contemporary Art Festival”, introduces the latter to the forum.
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5 Jun 2017 / Tainan / We are given a tour of the exhibition, “Kau-Puê, Mutual Companionship in Near Future: Soulangh International Contemporary Art Festival”, by curator Gong Jow Juin.

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During my session, I presented some of the findings from my recently published book, titled “Photography in Southeast Asia: A Survey” (NUS Press, 2016). The session closes with pertinent questions and responses from Manit Sriwanichpoom, Shin Suejin, Chihiro Minato and Taiwanese researcher Chang Shih-Lun. / Image courtesy of Lin Bo Liang

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6 Jun 2017 / Chiayi / I was given a quick tour of the historic Chiayi Cheng Huang Temple by artist Chen Guan-Jhang. / Image courtesy of Yu-ling
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A quick visit to the Chiayi Cheng Huang Temple, which features roof carvings incorporating signs of modernity with traditional iconography
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賣私咖啡 (自家烘焙專門店) https://www.facebook.com/mys.coffeeroast/ — One of the most iconic places to drink coffee in Chiayi, with a hugely opinionated owner who has a lot to say about the coffee culture in Taiwan
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I was given a quick tour of the historic Tenrikyo Shrine (嘉義市天理教的東門教會) by artist Chen Guan-Jhang. This is the best preserved, Japanese-style Tenrikyo Shrine constructed from Cypress in Taiwan. / Image courtesy of Yu-ling
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6 Jun 2017 / Tainan / I made a presentation titled “Photography in Southeast Asia: Methodology and Findings” at the Doctoral Program in Art Creation and Theory, Tainan National University of the Arts. The intensive session lasted well over three hours, with me delivering a talk based on my recently published book, “Photography in Southeast Asia: A Survey” (NUS Press, 2016). I spent the second half of the session taking questions from the audience. / Image courtesy of Yu-ling

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10 Jun 2017 / Singapore / It is a pleasant surprise to learn that my new friends in Tainan are actually involved in the album artwork of a Taiwanese band, which I have been following. I have previously shared the MVs of Sheng-Xiang & Band (生祥樂隊) on Facebook. The design of their recent album incorporates photographic art from Taiwan.

 

 

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