In general understanding, “ten” is emblematic of “consummation,” for it implies “cycle” as well as “reset and restart.” We celebrate the “ten-year” milestone in the development of TheCube Project Space. The visual imagery of the number of ten resembles not only an ouroboros but also a fractal world that continues unfolding in a cyclical and ever-changing fashion. In the meantime, it refers to our retrospect of the past and prospect of the future from the perspective of a boundary crosser. In view of these implications, “ten” is not merely a number that denotes the decade of TheCube’s operation, but also a clue for the topographic mapping that guides us to rethink the experience of cultural production in Taiwan and its prospects in the 21st century.
From 2010 to 2019, TheCube had collaborated with upwards of 200 creators, curators and cultural practitioners in various forms, organizing more than 50 exhibitions and over 100 public performances, talks and forums in different scale. If we construe the entire process as individuals’ and a group’s exploration, cognition and reasoning of the world we live in, we may also make a more macroscopic topography beyond our current horizons via the works and practices that TheCube followed closely over the past decade. The topographic approach is ergo tantamount to human beings’ attempt to depict and grasp their living environment by amassing observational data and experiences of all stripes.
Accordingly, the “topographic mapping” here is a dynamic, ongoing process, and TheCube orientates itself exactly toward building a creative, alternative platform of knowledge production by employing curatorial practice in a broader sense. TheCube is physically located in Taipei’s Gongguan District, in a building that was formerly a hotel and steeped in history over the course of urban development. TheCube’s past subtly embodied its current identity through a sui generis process of spatio-temporal transformation. The late cultural practitioner Shih-Chieh llya Li formulated the concept of “difference inn” when he was organizing the lecture series for the 2018 Praxis School. To some degree, the concept vividly depicts an ideal quality of contemporary (cultural) spatial production: supporting and constructing an “inn” as difference-tolerant as open to the multitude (i.e., guests from all corners of the world) for exchange and dialogue. Today, the imagery of “difference inn,” along with the imagination and reasoning it inspired, has found a more powerful expression in the world where everything is homogenized while ideological barriers are incessantly erected.
As TheCube’s tenth anniversary exhibition, The Topography of a Decade is intended not only to review TheCube’s artistic practice over the past ten years, but also to rethink the space-time we live in from the temporal dimension. Thus, we are able to examine the issues concerning human migration, diaspora and aggregation, the occurrence of wars, pandemics and disasters, as well as the humanity-history and humanity-nature relations since the 20th century. Besides, through this exhibition, we seek to re-evaluate the once prevailing technological opportunism and the value of existence under economic globalization. Featuring seven artists who had previously collaborated with TheCube (incl. Hou Chun-Ming, Chen Chieh-Jen, and Teng Chao-Ming from Taiwan, Lee Kit from Hong Kong, Au Sow-Yee from Malaysia, Vandy Rattana from Cambodia, and Zheng Bo from China), this exhibition sets out on an exploratory journey across different aspects from their diverse perspectives, field surveys, and observations that reconcile sense and sensibility. Although not all the exhibits are newly created, some of them poetically portended today’s turbulent world and even the imminent changes. Perhaps “history repeats itself” explains such coincidence, or history has already galvanized astute artists to ponder on the environment and the progress of civilization.
At this special moment, topographic mapping continues to be an ongoing thinking-action. On the one hand, we would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to those who had cooperated with as well as inspired and supported us in different forms. On the other hand, we seize this opportunity to examine the roles that a micro artistic institution can play at the present time, through which we will extract and pioneer more methods and convictions for future practice.