An exhibition about research on sound cultures in post-war Taiwan will open at the Museum of National Taipei University of Education in Taipei and the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts on February 22 and June 7 respectively. Jointly organized by these two museums and TheCube Project Space of Taipei, it is funded by the 2012 Production Grants to Independent Curators in Visual Arts of the National Culture and Arts Foundation.
Based on ongoing fieldwork, the exhibition Altering Nativism explores Taiwan’s various post-war sound culture movements by presenting historical documentation, audiovisual archives, and artworks.
The exhibition begins the discourse with the album Lang laile: Qingting, Taiwan de hua (waves are coming: listen carefully, Taiwan is speaking) released by Crystal Records (now dissolved) in 1997. It is a 47-minute recording of waves crashing on the shore in Ji’an Township in Hualien, Taiwan. The sound is natural rather than man-made, but in the marketing process it was entitled “Taiwan is speaking”, which suggests that the sound, or this sound making, has a definitive political implication.
Beginning with this album, the exhibition excavates the issues that cannot be avoided in the shaping of Taiwan’s modernity, and explores the context of sound culture movements, including the songs banned during the post-war martial law period, American pop songs, the search for our own music in the “Folk Song Collection Movement” and the “Folk Song Movement”, and the underground music scene, Noise Movement, Raves and sound art in the post-martial law period. Sifting through the soil of Taiwan’s social history, the exhibition compiles a genealogical record of sound, and hopes to explore more implications of this record through the process of re-examining the sound making.
In addition to featuring the albums, posters, flyers and documentary films collected by the research team, the exhibition has invited 15 groups of sound and visual artists to expand the discourse with art works. Rather than presenting a comprehensive history of Taiwan’s sound cultures, this exhibition proposes an “approach for listening to and explaining Taiwan’s sounds”, and attempts to investigate history through the sense of hearing, in order to stimulate further discussion.