Tiɑngong Kɑiwu: Modern Life and the History of Technology

Tiɑngong Kɑiwu: Modern Life and the History of Technology

The Exploitation of the Works of Nature

Tiɑngong Kɑiwu (The Exploitation of the Works of Nature): Modern Life and the History of  Technology is the theme that runs through the 2018 Praxis School Lecture Series, with special foci on the relations between humanity and objects as well as their history, and the best way for us to react accordingly. The lecture series spans a period from August 2018 to March 2019 with a total of 12 sessions, and 9 among them are offered in collaboration with the Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab (formerly known as the Taiwan Air Force Innovation Base). We’re honored to have a star-studded line-up of lecturers this year, including Huang Sun-Quan, Li Shang-Jen, Liu Yan, Hsieh Ying-Chun, Manray Hsu, Hung Kuang-Chi and Li Shih-Chieh.

Outline of the Lecture Series

2018/8/25 Sat. 2-5pm
❚  Cooperation Movement: The First Day after the Revolution
Speaker: Huang Sun-Quan
Venue: WunanbooksTaipei (No.160, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Rd., Zhongzheng Dist., Taipei City)
The Platform Cooperativism Consortium (PCC) will hold its first Asian Conference in Hong Kong this September. As the co-initiator of this conference and the organizer of Cooperathon, Huang Sun-Quan is going to introduce the striking cases and trends of international cooperation movement in this lecture.

2018/8/26 Sun. 2-5pm
❚  The Blockchain Exchange of Digital Art
Speaker: Huang Sun-Quan
Venue: WunanbooksTaipei (No.160, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Rd., Zhongzheng Dist., Taipei City)
Can you imagine Bairbnb (blockchain Airbnb), Buber (blockchain Uber), or BtaskRabbit (blockchain TaskRabbit)? Conceive of the new horizons opened up by a blockchain-based school such as the ConsenSys founded by Joseph Lubin and the Ethereum. How about visualizing a blockchain exchange of digital art? Is this a revolution achieved at one go that will break the clandestine dealing and monopoly in art trade/auction and thereby fosters the mutual trust between artists and collectors? Or, will it become a new totalitarian regime, a technological empire where art trade/auction is conducted in a closed system?

2018/9/15 Sat. 2-5pm
❚  Innovation vs. Utilization: How should we treat technology?
Speaker:  Li Shang-Jen
Venue: C-Lab (No.177, Sec. 1, Jianguo S. Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei City)
How many technologies we utilize today are recent innovations, and how many of them are long-standing yet subjected to continual improvement? Do the burning issues ranging from energy and transportation to environmental pollution and food supply remain unresolvable until new technologies are available? Or, is the discourse of placing hope on new technologies little more than a convenient excuse to divert public attention from the adoption of effective solutions that will act against powerful vested interests? This lecture will not only broaden the audience’s horizons, but also offer alternative views about technology.
* This session is held in collaboration with the Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab.

2018/10/27 Sat. 2-5pm
❚  The Architectural Practice of Hsieh Ying-Chun I
Construction Techniques and Cultural Perpetuation: Two Observation Points in Southeastern and Southwestern China
Speaker: Liu Yan / Discussant: Hsieh Ying-Chun
Venue: C-Lab (No.177, Sec. 1, Jianguo S. Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei City)
As the modern society’s socio-economic model evolves every day, the artisan traditions, whether in terms of production or perpetuation, have undergone radical transformation, which will decisively shape new practices of cultural perpetuation in vernacular architecture. This lecture will introduce two cases that are worlds apart in their forms. The first is the wooden arch bridges unique to the Min-Zhe area of China. The second is the houses in the Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Si-Chuan Province, China. Taking a glimpse of the tension between modernization and construction traditions in rural China through Hsieh’s case projects, this lecture will address how architectural scholars’ academic perspectives and architects’ practical intervention can better serve the rural construction and cultural perpetuation.
* This session is held in collaboration with the Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab.

2018/10/28 Sun.
❚  The Architectural Practice of Hsieh Ying-Chun II
The Sociality of Construction Works
Speakers: Huang Sun-Quan, Hsieh Ying-Chun
❚  The Architectural Practice of Hsieh Ying-Chun III
The Roundtable Discussion
Speakers: Huang Sun-Quan, Hsieh Ying-Chun, Liu Yan, Manray Hsu
Venue: C-Lab (No.177, Sec. 1, Jianguo S. Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei City)
Curated by Huang Sun-Quan, the exhibition Action without Action: Hsieh Ying-Chun’s Architectural Practices will be on view at the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts in September 2018. The first session of this forum on the opening day will focus on the dialogue between the curator’s thoughts provoked by field studies and the architect’s philosophy of architecture, thereby inviting reflections on the sociality of construction works. A building is more than a cement cube of a mere formality, nor is environmental ethics eternally the externality of the Anthropocene. The key lies in how we comprehend the socially constructed architecture.
Architectural archeologist Liu Yan and independent curator Manray Hsu will attend the second session of this forum to exchange views on Hsieh’s philosophy of architecture with the other discussants from multiple perspectives.
* These sessions are held in collaboration with the Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab.

2018/11/24 Sat. 2-5pm
❚  The Anthropocene and Contemporary Art I: The Anthropocene and Its Discontent
Speaker: Manray Hsu/ Disccusant: Hung Kuang-Chi

2018/12/8 Sat. 2-5pm
❚  The Anthropocene and Contemporary Art II: Herbal Urbanism
Speaker: Manray Hsu/ Disccusant: TBA

2018/12/8 Sat. 2-5pm
❚  The Anthropocene and Contemporary Art III: The Aesthetics of Scale
Speaker: Manray Hsu/ Disccusant: TBA
Venue: C-Lab (No.177, Sec. 1, Jianguo S. Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei City)
Both modern and contemporary arts have paid sustained attention to environmental and ecological issues for more than half a century. As the environmental crisis worsens with the acceleration of global warming, together with the concept of “Anthropocene” popularized among researchers of natural sciences, humanities and social sciences in the recent two decades, the art community has also reviewed the complex relations between ecology and art. In this lecture, Manray Hsu will discuss different aspects of the Anthropocene and propose his theoretical and artistic ideas as a response to “herbal urbanism” and “the aesthetics of scale.”
* These sessions are held in collaboration with the Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab.

2019/1/26 Sat. 2-5pm
❚  The Border of Science, and Science on the Border
Speaker: Hung Kuang-Chi
Venue: C-Lab (No.177, Sec. 1, Jianguo S. Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei City)
Systematically reviewing the concept of border in Science and Technology Studies, the lecturer attempts to establish the argument that, in face of the nearly borderless circulation of ideas and goods nowadays, we require not only guidelines for transdisciplinary cooperation, but also the “border studies” based on detailed history and ethnography.
* This session is held in collaboration with the Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab.

2019/2/23 Sat. 2-5pm
❚  Traveling Science, and Science on a Journey
Speaker: Hung Kuang-Chi
Venue: C-Lab (No.177, Sec. 1, Jianguo S. Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei City)
Evidenced by the occidental research trends over the past decade, the Studies in History of Science took a decisive turn that researchers no longer confine their views to scientific knowledge production sites such as laboratories, museums and fields, but direct their focus towards addressing the question as to how scientific knowledge “travels.” This lecture will expound how recent researchers of Science and Technology Studies deal with the “travel” of science and orientate their research toward “global history of science” or “beyond post-colonialism and post-positivism.”
* This session is held in collaboration with the Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab.

2019/3/30 Sat.
❚  Difference Inn/Generation Tired
Speakers: Huang Sun-Quan, Ilya Li
Venue: TBA
The world is nothing short of a difference inn where everyone appears radically different from the others–this island requires listening no more, and it becomes wanting in shared language. At this difference inn, everyone lives in differences. What count as media and art under the circumstances? Are culture and art the tools for broadcasting oneself and making one’s voice heard, or they are adopted to engage with others and encourage dialogues? Treating the artistic and social reflections as the point of departure, this lecture will discuss the keywords regarding survival and life, including space, medium, technology, and instrument.

About the Lecturers

❚  Huang Sun-Quan
Huang Sun-Quan is an artivist engaging in architecture, media, social movements, and art. He is currently an assistant professor at the Graduate Institute of Interdisciplinary Art, National Kaohsiung Normal University, and a visiting professor at the School of Intermedia Art, China Academy of Art. His research interests include architecture and urbanism, culture and media, social mobilization, and interdisciplinary arts. He was a visiting fellow at the Lingnan University, Hong Kong (2004-2005) as well as the former editor-in-chief of POTS Weekly. In 1997, he organized the first anti-gentrification movement in Taiwan under the slogan “Against City Government’s Bulldozers.” He was also active in several social and media reform movements in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

❚  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.

❚  Liu Yan
Liu Yan earned her Ph.D. from the Department of Architecture, Technische Universität München. She is a member of the SUSTech (Southern University of Science and Technology) Society of Fellows in Liberal Arts. Her research interests include the history of wood-framed buildings, the history of building technology, architectural archeology, and architectural anthropology.

❚  Hsieh Ying-chun
In his socially engaged work Hsieh has been helping people rebuild their homes since the devastating earthquake in Taiwan 1999, when his reconstruction project for the Thao people gained him international recognition. Hsieh organized the reconstruction of housing and communities in disaster-struck areas while faced with two challenges: to build houses within an extremely tight budget (25%-50% of the market price) and to base the projects on the notion of sustainable construction, green building, cultural preservation and creation of local employment opportunities. Hsieh has played a key role in rebuilding communities for Taiwan’s Indigenous peoples. In more recent years, Hsieh has continued to help people build their own houses, from the remote villages of China to the sufferers of the South East Asian Tsunami.

Hsieh represented Taiwan in the Venice Architecture Biennale 2006 and Venice Biennale of Contemporary Art 2009. The Curry Stone Design Prize 2011 was awarded to Hsieh to champion the designer as a force of social change building more than 3,000 homes with local people in natural disaster zones in Taiwan and Mainland China.

❚  Manray Hsu
Manray Hsu is an independent curator and critic. His intellectual work focuses on cultural conditions of globalization, the relationship between aesthetics and politics, and geopolitical situations of contemporary art. Manray Hsu has curated exhibitions include Wayward Economy  (2005, Taipei); Liverpool Biennial (2006, co-consulted/curated with Gerardo Mosquera); Naked Life (2006, Taipei Museum of Contemporary Art); Taipei Biennial  (2000, co-curated with Jerome Sans; 2008 co-curated with Vasif Kortun, Taipei Fine Arts Museum); Forum Biennial of Taiwanese Contemporary Art (2010, TCAC); Autostrada Biennale (2017, Kosovo); The South – An Art of Asking and Listening (2017, Kaohsiung Museum Of Fine Arts). Manray Hsu often engages in collective work on workshop, conference and publication in Europe, America, Asia and Australia.

❚  Hung Kuang-Chi
Hung Kuang-Chi earned his Ph.D. from the Department of the History of Science, Harvard University, with specialization in environmental history, biogeography, and evolutionary biology. He carried on his postdoctoral research at the Arnold Arboretum, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Needham Research Institute. Currently he teaches as an assistant professor in the Department of Geography, National Taiwan University.

❚  Shih-Chieh Ilya Li
A transdisciplinary thinker and activist. Graduated from the Department of Psychology, National Taiwan University and earning his master’s degree from the Department of Ethnic Relations and Cultures, National Dong Hwa University. Treating “witnessing” as the entry point, Li’s thesis primarily addressed the drastic changes of human society ensued from the profound impacts of innovative technologies, arguing that online media make the “impossible witnessing” beyond our society possible. He introduced and reconstructed in his thesis a new “alterity”, not only discussing the awareness of contemporary citizen-users from the poetic and humanistic aspects, but also examining the possibility of the network science. He is the founding program manager of Open Source Software Foundry in Academia Sinica, and used to be the program office project manager of Taiwan e-Learning and Digital Archives Program and an executive consultant on international cooperation. He was enrolled in the doctoral program at the Institute of Sociology, National Tsing-Hua University (2007-2012). Li has devoted himself specifically to the field of digital culture development. His has been occupied with several positions, including a start-up company of social media data analysis (since 2015), the CEO of Honghua Foundation for Environmental Protection and Digital Future (since 2016), and a guest researcher at the Institute of Network Society, China Academy of Art (since 2015). As an artist, he participant in group exhibition, Towards Mysterious Realities. (2016, TKG+)

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