Tiangong Kaiwu: Modern Life and the History of Technology II

 

2019PX--01

The Praxis School is a thematic lecture/workshop series initiated by TheCube Project Space in 2016 and held on an annual basis thenceforth. “Tiangong Kaiwu: Modern Life and the History of Technology” was the theme that ran through the 2018 Praxis School, with special foci on modern life’s relations to the history of technology, the history of science, and contemporary art, as well as on their complex interplay.

The 2019 Praxis School extends the theme of “Modern Life and the History of Technology” to the practices and beliefs concerning the idea of “medical care/healing,” seeking to discuss several cultural concepts (e.g. illness, health, filthiness and cleanness) and the ways they affect us physically and mentally, from which we can cogitate on the question as to how associated technologies and concepts gradually shape the state of our society and social life.

The lecturers/discussants this year include Li Shang-Jen (a historian of Western science and medicine), Tsai Yu-Yueh, (a cultural researcher who has long surveyed aboriginal tribes and lent profound insights as to how modern medical care influences aboriginal peoples’ lifestyles), Yang Yu-Chiao (an artist who interprets the evolution of folk medicine from multiple perspectives in folktales), and Chen Yin-Ju (an artist who devotes herself to the practice and cultural studies of shamanic healing).

 

Schedule of the Lectures

#1_2019.05.26(Sun.) 2-5pm
Exploring the Body: The French Revolution, Anatomy, and Stethoscope
Lecturer: Li Shang-Jen / Discussant: Guo Jau-Lan
#2_2019.06.22(Sat.) 2-5pm
The Discovery of Mosquitoes as the Vectors of Disease: A Medical History that Connects the United Kingdom, Takao, Xiamen and India
Lecturer: Li Shang-Jen / Discussant: Daiwie Fu
#3_2019.07.27(Sat.) 2-5pm
Abnormal People? Psychiatry, Minority Communities and Trans-cultural Sensitivity
Lecturer: Tsai Yu-Yueh
#4_2019.08.31(Sat.) 2-5pm
Looking for the Correct Practice: A General Introduction to the Folk Medicine in Folktales
Lecturer: Yang Yu-Chiao / Discussant: Yen Fang-Tzu
#5_2019.11.30(Sat.) 2-5pm
Shaman and Healing
Lecturer/ Discussant: Chen Yin-Ju and Lin Li-Chun

 

Outlines of the Lectures

#1_2019.05.26(Sun.) 2-5pm
❚  Exploring the Body: The French Revolution, Anatomy, and Stethoscope
Lecturer: Li Shang-Jen / Discussant: Guo Jau-Lan
Venue: C-Lab (No.177, Sec. 1, Jianguo S. Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei City)

A stethoscope is an emblem of modern physicians. In The Birth of the Clinic: An Archaeology of Medical Perception (Naissance de la clinique: une archéologie du regard medical), French philosopher Michel Foucault wrote that “a stethoscope […] transmits profound and invisible events along a semi-tactile, semi-auditory axis.” Over the past two centuries, physicians have employed this simple instrument to detect invisible, indescribable changes inside patients’ physical bodies. On René Laennec’s (1781-1826, the inventor of stethoscope) idea about pathological anatomy, Foucault commented that “vertically from the symptomatic surface to the tissual surface; in depth, plunging from the manifest to the hidden.” The Western medicine had long sought to cope with health and illness from both the balance of humors and the harmony between the body and its external environment. It was not until the French Revolution that a dramatic transformation in Western medicine occurred and that hospitals, pathological anatomy and physical examination became popular. Since then the Western medicine has had an utterly different understanding of body and illness. This lecture is intended to address this revolutionary transformation and its influence on our perception of body, life and death.

 

#2_2019.06.22(Sat.) 2-5pm
❚  The Discovery of Mosquitoes as the Vectors of Disease: A Medical History that Connects the United Kingdom, Takao, Xiamen and India
Lecturer: Li Shang-Jen / Discussant: Daiwie Fu
Venue: C-Lab (No.177, Sec. 1, Jianguo S. Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei City)

The mainstream of Western medicine in the mid-19th century believed that tropical diseases such as malaria are caused by swamp gas, while the tropical medicine emerging in the early 20th century claimed that tropical diseases are parasitic and transmitted by vectors such as mosquitoes. French philosopher Georges Canguilhem described these vectors as “grim reaper with wings.” The key figure who brought about this paradigm shift was Patrick Manson (1844-1922), known as “the father of tropical medicine.” In the early years of his career, Manson used to work with James Laidlaw Maxwell Senior, the first Presbyterian missionary to Takao, Formosa. Then Manson went to Xiamen, China where he made a major breakthrough in medical science, proving that mosquitoes can transmit diseases. Later, he even solved the mystery of malaria in collaboration with Ronald Ross (1857-1932), a British physician stationed in India. Manson used to practice medicine in Hong Kong. In that period, he and his junior classmate James Cantlie (1851-1926) co-founded the Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese, from which Sun Yat-Sen was one of the earliest graduates. After returning to his homeland, Manson had served as a medical advisor to the Colonial Office. He not only helped the U.K. government formulate its colonial medical policy, but also founded the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. This lecture not only analyzes the images used in and produced by tropical medicine research, but also examines the links between Manson’s research and the 19th-century colonialism.

 

#3_2019.07.27(Sat.) 2-5pm
❚  Abnormal People? Psychiatry, Minority Communities and Trans-cultural Sensitivity
Lecturer: Tsai Yu-Yueh
Venue: C-Lab (No.177, Sec. 1, Jianguo S. Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei City)

How can the standardized diagnostic system in psychiatry be generalized to Taiwan’s local context? What characteristics of contemporary psychiatry are manifested in the abnormal course of life of “abnormal people” in minority communities? How should we retrospectively respond to the convergence, fusion and clash of modern psychiatry and tribal cultures? In this lecture, the lecturer will share her observation and reflection gained from her field survey over the past years.

 

#4_2019.08.31(Sat.) 2-5pm
❚  Looking for the Correct Practice: A General Introduction to the Folk Medicine in Folktales
Lecturer: Yang Yu-Chiao / Discussant: Yen Fang-Tzu
Venue: C-Lab (No.177, Sec. 1, Jianguo S. Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei City)

Oral traditional folktales tend to record normal or abnormal events in a sequence of plots. To make enigmatic abnormality intelligible or even controllable, folktale characters always make attempts of all stripes, such as medical practice based on herbs, prayer, spell or dance.
Their attempts failed time and again. These characters may nonetheless recognize what is inappropriate or imprecise in their previous practices through imitation, learning, or notice given by other characters performing specific functions. No sooner did they acquire a new understanding of seasons, celestial bodies’ movement, culprits’ characteristics, or nuances of symptoms, then they would modify their practice, pick suitable herbs, or change the vocabulary in their spells, insofar as to cure the patient (or know that the patient is bound to die of illness). Quovis modo, what they’ve done is looking for the correct practice.
The aforementioned process sometimes serves as the paradigm or teaching for folk medicine practice, becoming the guidelines for the later generations on similar affairs. However, some abnormal events give prominence not so much to medical practice as the ins and outs of themselves, from which we can grasp the way of specific things. Presented in the form of quasi-performance of typical stories, this lecture aims to provide a synoptic outline of folk medicine in folktales.

 

#5_2019.11.30(Sat.) 2-5pm
❚  Shaman and Healing
Lecturer / Discussant:Chen Yin-Ju and Lin Li-Chun
Venue: C-Lab (No.177, Sec. 1, Jianguo S. Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei City)

Neptune, an emblem of supra-consciousness, entered spiritually sensitive Pisces in 2012, and will not leave until 2026. In this period, the public spotlight shines on the contentious issues regarding eternity, spirit, healing and salvation. The mysterious shamanic culture is also included.
“Everything is a sentient being with feelings.” Shamanic healing is an ancient practice serving to “fix” our physical and mental health from somewhere beyond the third dimension, which is implemented in a highly practical and empirical fashion in our quotidian existence that other spiritual beliefs are not. Featuring the use of herbs or sound waves, shamanic rituals lead us to a higher level of consciousness and expand the six roots of our sensation, thereby allowing us to roam the spiritual world where we can learn, divine, and mend the net of our soul. In this way, the mental confusion and hard-to-treat illness that plague us in the material world can be dispelled once and for all.
A shaman is also known as a witch doctor. How do they complete the healing process? Taking the form of dialogue-oriented knowledge sharing, this lecture explores (1) the definition of a shaman; (2) the approaches and purposes of witchcraft rituals such as the use of herbs, sound waves, frantic dance, and fast; (3) the consciousness transition and its history; (4) the three worlds of Shamanism; and (5) the ways of message reception and treatments, as well as pertinent case studies.

 

About the Lecturers / Discussant

Li Shang-Jen
Li Shang-Jen earned his Ph.D. from the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, Imperial College, University of London, and worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine. He is now a research fellow at the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica.

Guo Jau-Lan
Guo Jau-Lan is an independent curator and art critic based in Taipei. She received her doctorate in Western art history in 2006, with a primary research interest in how the American critiques constructed its anti-modernism postmodern art theory through an interpretation of Robert Rauschenberg and the American Neo-Dada art movement. As an Associate Professor, Guo teaches Modern Art, Contemporary Art and Curatorial Practice in Department of Fine Arts, Taipei National University of Arts. Her curatorial involvement began in 2006, with a focus on the cultural praxis of image, visual culture and Sound Art. Her recent focuses in research and curatorial practice include, how exhibition could invent history and produce knowledge as well as how it triggers negotiation in a conflict. 

Daiwie Fu
Emeritus professor at the Institute of Science, Technology, and Society at National Yang Ming University. His research focus on the history of Science, Science, technology, and society (STS), sexuality and medical treatment, contemporary Taiwanese culture, and etc. His representative work in the last decade is Assembling the New Body: Gender/Sexuality, Medicine, and Modern Taiwan (2005).
His recent work is focused on the genealogical history of STS and the development of the STS field in Asia, publishing The Origins and Structure of STS in spring 2019, as the 8th book in the National Taiwan University and Harvard-Yenching Institute Academic Book Series. In his younger years, through reflecting on his experience in Taiwanese social movements, he published Radical Notes, and The Space Between Knowledge and Power, pondering on the meaning of “struggles on the margins”.

Tsai Yu-Yueh
Tsai Yu-Yueh is an assistant researcher in the sociology department at Academia Sinica. She began by studying nursing, but later changed her focus to sociology, and has served as the editor of the news and health section of a newspaper. Her educational experience includes serving as a researcher at Harvard University and at UC San Diego as a post-doctoral researcher, and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Fulbright as a visiting scholar.

Her current research interests include the Taiwan Biobank, the genetics of Taiwanese indigenous and their political identification, and participants in Taiwanese ancestry genetic testing. She has written one book, The Spiritual Order of the Yami: The Social Roots of Modernity, Change, and Suffering, edited a book with other academics, Abnormal People?: Psychiatry and the Governance of Modernity in Taiwan, and produced the documentary films, Bing Fang 85033, and Commitment! Professor Lian Ma-ke and Taiwanese Sociology, 1955 to 1999.

Yang Yu-Chiao 
Yang Yu-Chiao likes taking walks and the remains of trees. Aside from being a Japanese-English-Chinese translator, he is a full-time verbal art performer of oral traditional folktales. He is dedicated to collecting ancient scripts from countries around the world, family trees of mythological beings and folktales. He started giving “World Folktale Lectures” in Taiwan in 2014 and has since held over 150 events. He is trained in classical vocal music and has performed as a soloist with various university choirs and other professional orchestras. In 2015, he performed “I am good–Songs by Bach and Purcell and Western European folktales” at the “streams” in Taichung. In 2017, he joined up with the Artsblooming Ensemble as a folktale performer for a performance titled “Just a Rumor”. He also has a few publications under his belt: Art – What’s In a Word (2014), Change – What’s In a Word (2016), and the collaborative work with painter Chen Che on publishing a collection of poems titled Counterpoint Archive (2017). He is also the founder of the magazine COVER (2017 to date).

Yen Fang-Tzu 
Assistant professor at the National Defense Medical Center. She obtained her Ph. D from the Griffith University’s School of Nursing, M.A. from National Tsing Hua University, and her B.A. from the National Cheng Chi University’s Chinese department. Her research interests includes Witchcraft and Beliefs, Women Studies, medical Anthropology, Kam people in Southwest China, Immigrant Health, Gender and Health. Published works include Sexuality and Health (2018), Health and Danger: How the Dong Realize and Restrict Freedom (2015), The Civilization of Frontier Health: The Example of the Dong Ethnic Minority (2015), Discussing the Roots of Dong Women’s Hardships from the Infant Mortality Rate in Guizhou (2014).

Chen Yin-Ju 
Artist Chen Yin-Ju interprets social power and history through cosmological systems. Utilizing astrology, sacred geometries, and alchemical symbols, she considers human behavior, nationalism, imperialism, state violence, totalitarianism, utopian formations, and collective thinking. Recently, she has been exploring the material effects of spiritual practices and the metaphysical potentialities of consciousness.
She has participated in many international exhibitions and film festivals, such as International Film Festival Rotterdam (NL, 2018, 2011), Transmediale (DE, 2018), Liverpool Biennial (UK, 2016), Forum Expanded at 66th Berlinale (DE, 2016), Biennial of Sydney (AU, 2016), Yin-Ju Chen: Extrastellar Evaluations (US, 2016), Action at a Distance–Yin-Ju Chen Solo Exhibition (TW, 2015), The Starry Heaven Above and the Moral Law Within (TW, 2015), Shanghai Biennial (CN, 2014), A Journal of the Plague Year (HK, KR, US, TW 2013-2014), Taipei Biennial (TW, 2012).

Lin Li-Chun 
Shamanic practitioner Li Chun, Lin was once a travel journalist, having embarked on her shamanic path after a spontaneous vision quest happened in a desert in the Middle East. She has studied several different shamanic traditions in different parts of the world and has been practicing globally. She has acquired deep connections with plant spirits. She also takes keen interest in body work and the healing power of food. She believes in the philosophy that the body is “one” with the earth, and strives to investigate into different avenues of expanded consciousness, rooted in the five senses, as a means of reaching another person’s soul. She has studied with Peruvian Mestizo shamans Christina Mendoza, Herbert Quinteros, also with Shipibo Canibo shamans Antonio Vasquez and Metsa Oka. She is also trained in Core Shamanism with Kevin Turner. Currently, her only teachers are her own body and the earth that she walks on.

#1_2019.05.26(Sun.) 2-5pm
❚  Exploring the Body: The French Revolution, Anatomy, and Stethoscope
Lecturer: Li Shang-Jen / Discussant: Guo Jau-Lan
Venue: C-Lab (No.177, Sec. 1, Jianguo S. Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei City)

#2_2019.06.22(Sat.) 2-5pm
❚  The Discovery of Mosquitoes as the Vectors of Disease: A Medical History that Connects the United Kingdom, Takao, Xiamen and India
Lecturer: Li Shang-Jen / Discussant: Daiwie Fu
Venue: C-Lab (No.177, Sec. 1, Jianguo S. Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei City)

 

Organizer | TheCube Project Space
Co-organizer ( 3rd-11th lectures ) | Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab
Sponsor | Dr. Chen Po-Wen
* TheCube Project Space is sponsored by National Culture and Arts Foundation, Department of Culture Affairs, Taipei City Government, RC Culture and Arts Foundation and Dr. Chen Po-Wen.

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