For the ninth installment of its exhibition and performance series Re-envisioning Society, TheCube Project Space presents Demolition Eve curated by Chen Chieh-jen. Including a series of forums and a sound performance, the program explores contemporary Taiwanese culture, specifically art production and production processes in relation to the notion of colonial modernity and the impact of capitalist political economy. Taking local reality and bodily experience as dual points of departure, the forum is anticipated to generate practical and transformative possibilities through on-site discussion and interactive contemplation. In addition to the three-day symposium scheduled for the end of December, a concluding forum will be held on February 5, 2013.
2:00pm Gong Jow-jiun “Micro-dispositif, Expanding Dynamics and Strategic Snapback: Rethinking the Fields of Problematic Arrangement in Contemporary Artistic Discourses”;
3:30pm open discussion
12/29 2pm Huang Chien-hung “Servile Battalion Past and Future”; 3:30pm open discussion
2:00pm Nobuo Takamori “From Tributary System to Networking: Redefined “International Art” / Connection Processes between Peripheral Regions” ;
3:30pm “General Discussion: Exchange of Ideas External to Knowledge Systems” Chen Chieh-jen, Gong Jow-jiun, Huang Chien-hung, Nobuo Takamori, Amy Cheng, Meiya Cheng and participants from the audience
New Year’s Eve Sound Performance
12/31 8:30pm to 1:00am, doors open at 8pm
– Song-Ce LO
– Dawang Yifang HUANG
– Noise Steve
The interdependent and opposing pair of words demolition and reconstruction carry meanings with distinct ideological underpinnings in a post-colonial context. In the pursuit of western modernity, with its undue focus on progress, everything deemed backwards about local culture, history and community consciousness must be completely dismantled and reconfigured in the name of reconstruction. On the other hand, these two terms, when referring to the reconstruction of the self, imply the demolition and reconstruction of a western modernity and progress that has already been internalized, and progresses from the inside to the outside.
For the first part of Demolition Eve, three scholars have been invited to lead public forums about two significant problems present in Taiwan’s art production setup. The first is colonialism–including internal and self colonialism–which have been deeply rooted in Taiwan’s art production system for a long time, yet never publicly recognized or formulated. The second issue is how to articulate a confident position that doesn’t devolve into simplistic moralizing, while also developing a liberated vision of the future with viable art practices and strategies from within the neoliberal system, which has already permeated our lives and desires.
For the program’s sounds performance segment, sound artists have been invited to create works that are non-verbal, body-oriented, not based on any tradition of composition, and aimed at creating varied dialogs with the forums. (by Chen Chieh-jen)
Gong Jow-jiun “Micro-dispositif, Expanding Dynamics and Strategic Snapback: Rethinking the Fields of Problematic Arrangement in Contemporary Artistic Discourses”
Dispositif is a military plan of action. Looking back at the production of art discourse in Taiwan, if we examine its fields of problematic arrangement, we see how art museums, art academies, galleries and the commercial publishing system, in complicity with the regulatory mechanisms of colonialism, internal colonialism, atomism, consumerism, government bidding systems and neoliberalism have, using a micro dispositif, formed a network that fulfills a desire to further propagate discourse. But overall this production of discourse has borrowed power from external sources in Europe and the United States, resulting in the rewriting of the self in order to emulate the West. In this process of self-consumption, power and focus have been lost. The question remains of how to return to the scene of art production and deploy a micro dispositif that will form new field for the purpose of referencing issues and arranging problems, and in doing so, redirect the flow of energy from museums, art academies, galleries and the commercial publishing field toward demolition that leads to reconstruction in a new heterogeneous micro dispositif. This is a fundamental problem of contemporary art. We must enter directly into the foundational details, toward heterogeneity, and probe the walls, demolish the floor, and study the structure of materials to discuss “exactly how it works,” and then, while looking for a different operation of assembly and strategic nodes, breakthrough this complex entanglement.
Huang Chien-hung “Servile Battalion Past and Future”
Starting in 2008, for the last five years, things that have happened in the art world and society of Taiwan have made it difficult for one to know whether to feel afraid or happy, for these events might herald big changes. I think these issues conceal an unsolved problem that exists in different complex contexts. This old problem, which is tightly bound to, or I think even an integral part of, our lives, stems from our experience of colonial governance and being controlled by others. Our fate of being restricted by others has subjected contemporary art and discourse in Taiwan to an abstract external force. This force is detached from our real social experience, our emotions and local political conditions.
Nobuo Takamori “From Tributary System to Networking: Redefined “International Art” / Connection Processes between Peripheral Regions”
The pre-modern Chinese tributary system, along with colonial, cold war and capitalist systems formed by the process of western modernity, have both contributed to a Taiwanese cultural psyche that comprises both colonizer and colonized. This kind of psyche has formed collective imaginaries blinding the people of Taiwan and residents of other non-western regions to their marginalized positions. We all anxiously set unreachable cultural standards, but nevertheless unconsciously fall into the logic of capitalist production. Takamori will discuss how the curatorial group Outsiders Factory deals with contemporary conditions in practical ways, and how another image of international art can be established that connects marginalized regions.