Taipei Fine Arts Museum (TFAM) is pleased to present highlights from the public programs at the 12th edition of Taipei Biennial, currently open at the museum until 14 March 2021. Entitled You and I Don’t Live on the Same Planet, this year’s edition showcases works by 57 participants/groups from 27 countries and territories worldwide and has so far welcomed over 90,000 visitors, a robust attendance in a pandemic era. Taiwanese independent curator Eva LIN has curated the public programs for this year’s iteration, working alongside the biennial’s co-curators French philosopher Bruno LATOUR and French independent curator Martin GUINARD. Taipei Biennial 2020 explores geopolitics and our worsening ecological crisis by investigating our differences and influences on a planetary perspective. As such, the curators have transformed Taipei Fine Arts Museum into a planetarium, with artists’ works aligning themselves with different versions of Earth, therefore presenting visitors with different options of which planet they want to live on. The public programs represent the moments when these different planets collide, maintaining the biennial in a dynamic state and constantly sparking the participants to engage in micro-revolutions in everyday life.
Taipei Biennial 2020 public program kicked off with five sessions of Theater of Negotiations, which took place at the museum with the support of researchers and students from the Taiwan Science, Technology and Society Association and five universities, addressing several social controversies that exist in Taiwan today spanning climate emergency to nuclear waste, food safety, renewable energy, and assisted conception. Gathering participants from different disciplines, who carried out “political and diplomatic tactics” through role-play, debates, and negotiation, the series was well attended and widely acclaimed by the public,
In January, Moon Salt, A Sci-Fi Writing Workshop led by Esther LU, Tzu-An WU, HOU I-Ting and Tan Zi HAO allowed the participants to observe and reimagine the world, weaving fables and myths from the forthcoming Chthulucene, a speculative future of sympoiesis, where logical order and civilization are deconstructed, and the boundaries between living entities are blurred. Through a series of game-like practices including sensual experience, brainstorming, debates, writing exercises and others, participants were invited to develop a series of collective creative itineraries, where they shared their works in the reading session by the end of workshop. A walking tour from event series The Relics in Which the Nation Is Situated invited the participants to revisit the historical site of Taiwan. The Grand Hotel Taipei has been regarded as the dragon nest of Taiwan, while the ridge line from Jiantan Mountain to Wenjian Mountain was marked as forbidden zone and highly guarded by the military force during the martial law. CHIN Cheng-Te, participating artist of Taipei Biennial 2020 with presentation Making Friends/ Fire, led the participants through a route starting from the hotel, and ending at the military fortress Cold Plum Fort, the iconic monument of Cold War Taiwan.
Highlights from the upcoming programs include The Wild Trail to the World, a 3-day-2-nights trekking workcamp with hunters, oceanographers, and artists, creating opportunities for open and mutual exchange and learning. The cross-disciplinary team will lead participants to use bodily perceptions to depict the land that traverses the boundaries of maps and together imagine a new way through, in order to re-establish relations with all the living creatures of the land. The program consists of 3 different paths of workcamps:
- Path One: Conversation with Things – The Way to Flow With River (18 – 20 January 2021) visited the Tapangu tribe at the upstream of Zengwen River, exploring the geographical environment of the watershed, including the different natural knowledge derived from the upper, middle and lower reaches, and the ecological aspects of settlement changes as well as the relation between human and nature through the naming of the stream and land by the Tsou hunters.
- Path Two: Mountain Living in the Future’s Past (24 – 26 February 2021) will travel to Laipunuk, the original residence of Bunun people, while they were forced to relocate to Yanping Township in 1941. Throughout the years, with the assistance of government the tribe returns to their ancestors’ habitat, where they consider the mountains and forests as “pasnanavan” (schools). Upon such belief, the workcamp will invite participants to live with nature and establish a deeper connection with the mountains by visiting Yanping forest trail, the Mamahav hunter’s trail and the Laipunuk historic trail.
- Path Three: The Mystery of Formosan Landlocked Salmon’s Port of Entry (1 – 3 March 2021) will look into origin of national treasure fish oncorhynchus masou formosanus, known as Taiwanese salmon, which are also printed on the banknote of NT$2,000. Taiwanese salmon were first considered as originating from the Dajia River, until it was discovered by oceanographer Lee-Shing FANG that they should be from Lanyang River after 13 years of fieldtrip and research. The workcamp will lead participants to return to where these east and west coast river basins meet and be enthralled by a reverse engineering of this discovery with the help of interdisciplinary guidance.
On the occasion of Taipei Biennial 2020 and together with the Taipei Fine Arts Museum (TFAM), and sponsored by Luma Foundation, a special issue of e-flux journal for further discussion on the biennial was published. Writers include renowned researchers and scholars of various fields, including Belgium philosopher Isabelle STENGERS; Chun-Mei CHUANG, professor, Department of Sociology, Soochow University; Yuk HUI, associate professor, School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong; Brazilian anthropologist Eduardo VIVEIROS DE CASTRO and philosopher Déborah DANOWSKI, to name a few.
For further information on the Taipei Biennial 2020 public program, please visit https://www.taipeibiennial.org/2020/en-US/Project/Event_List
Additionally, the online show room and videos of the biennial and can also be found on the website for audiences all over the world to enjoy.