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Department of Cultural Affairs

Feature Story

Treasure Hill Light Festival explores everyone’s desire for happiness

By Yali Chen
 
From March 30 to May 5, the 2019 Treasure Hill Light Festival is featuring the work of Taiwan and overseas artists whose creations use the medium of light.
 
The Treasure Hill Artist Village (THAV) has held a large-scale exhibition in early spring since 2012, said Catherine Lee (李曉雯), Artistic Director of Taipei Artist Village (TAV) on Treasure Hill.
 
At first, artists used the medium of contemporary art for the Lantern Festival. From 2017, the organizers started to focus on the medium of light and named the event “Light Festival.”
 
“A Land of Happiness” (野景) is the theme of this year’s Light Festival, curated by Lee I-hua (李依樺). She hopes that the festival could explore people’s expectations for future happiness through artistic creations, cultural activities, audience participation, and cooperation between local residents and students.
 
Fourteen artist groups participated in this year’s event. Students from Shih Chien University, Taipei National University of the Arts, and National Taiwan University worked together for the first time. Hsiao Sheng-chien (蕭聖健), Li Cheng-liang (李承亮), and Hsu Tang-wei (許唐瑋) are Taiwan’s outstanding artists who have won Taipei Art Awards and Taishin Arts Awards. The organizers also invited well-known artists from Japan and Spain to take part in the festival.
 
At the entrance to the village, viewers can see the art group Yanyen’s (衍椼) work “I Search in the Crowd for a Hundred, a Thousand Times” (眾裡尋他千百度). Yanyen is composed of artist Wei Hsin-yen (魏欣妍) and curator Lin Ming-yan (林明彥). Their light creation makes the village’s street lamps and searchlights change colors. Viewers have a small card with instructions on how to view the colors of light.
 
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Photo from THAV
Japanese artist Isozaki Michiyoshi’s “Dome Project.”
 
Japanese artist Isozaki Michiyoshi’s (磯崎道佳) “Dome Project” (巨蛋計畫), located next to Yanyen’s creation, is a very simple interactive artwork. His Dome Project is a four-meter transparent tent. Viewers can walk into this large plastic dome to enjoy sights or project their silhouettes on color plastic bags.
 
Through such interaction and participation, Isozaki tries to convey how people respect and embrace diversity in society. Born in Mito City in 1968, the artist now lives and works in Hokkaido.
 
He believes that curiosity plays an important role in the relationship between human beings and the world. His creations always focus on arousing everyone’s child-like curiosity.
 
Industrial development has endangered many natural landscapes. The chorus of frogs and crickets has been gradually replaced by the hustle and bustle of cities. Hsiao Sheng-chien (蕭聖健) tries to reproduce these natural sounds from his childhood through his creation “Buzzing Scenery” (噪景).
 
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Photo from THAV
Taiwanese artist Hsiao Sheng-chien’s “Buzzing Scenery.”
 
The artist graduated from Tainan National University of the Arts in 2001 and now teaches at Kaohsiung Municipal Fushan Junior High School. His artworks feature mobile or audio-visual interaction.
 
Hsiao used high-tech in his past creations. But at the Light Festival, his low-tech approach conveys his reflections on the relationship between natural beauty and modern civilization. He created an artificial landscape to satirize the destruction of the natural environment by those who pursue unbridled industrial and technological development.
 
The creations of the Taipei-based Legacy Lab International (人嶼) and Spanish artist Olga Diego also express concern for the natural environment.
 
Founded in 2013, Legacy Lab International is a creative studio made up of artists, musicians, dancers, designers, engineers, and scientists. Their creations blur the boundaries between digital technology and contemporary art.
 
Their creation this year titled “Nirvana” (涅槃) is a pile of industrial and domestic waste, an artificial rock landscape in a garden. They used fluorescent pigments to create a flowing waterfall. Viewers could easily mistake this as a natural landscape.
 
Born in 1969, Olga Diego specializes in sculpture, performance, audiovisual creations and painting. The artist always creates large industrial objects, showing the process of artificial products through performances. She was fascinated with aircraft research and even flew into the sky on an airplane that she made for herself.
 
Public participation is a very important part of her creations. Diego is also committed to exploring the limits of body and identity and discussing the issues of gender construction and deconstruction. In addition, she uses circuit boards and program coding to develop highly interactive, dynamic sculptures.
 
Her installation “Jardín Autómata” (塑膠樂園) is a labyrinth of gigantic, plastic blow-up dolls powered with kinetic features. Inspired by the 15th century masterpiece “Garden of Earthly Delights” by Hieronymus Bosch, the work is a feast of visual excitement.
 
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Photo from THAV
Spanish artist Olga Diego’s “Jardín Autómata.”
 
The characters in her creation include humanoids of all genres, pure and hybrid quadrupeds, hybrid creatures, women with large antenna-breasts, head-balloon animals, mutant giraffes, eggs and fish with legs, and two-head dogs. Diego used these different figures to imply that people have destroyed the natural environment and created excessive waste – plastic.
 
Taiwanese artist Li Cheng-liang (李承亮) transformed a spherical water tower into a broadcasting station – “The Wannian Station” (萬年站). When viewers climb up, they will feel as if they landed on the roof of a space station where they can sing songs.
 
Li grew up in Keelung and graduated from the Department of New Media and Arts at the Taipei National University of the Arts. He started to make creations in Tainan in 2013.
 
The concept of “The Wannian Station” comes from his other work “Lunar Space Project,” completed between 2012 and 2015, to show that people feel isolated in modern society.
 
Located next to “The Wannian Station” are Kuo I-chen’s (郭奕臣) two projects – “The Universe Lost a Baby Tooth” (宇宙的祕密基地) and “Lose Contact-Night” (失訊-夜).
 
The former was inspired from his same-title children’s book. It describes a memory, a tooth, a whole universe, and a 75-year commitment. The idea of commitment comes from Taiwanese modern poet Luo Qing’s poem “The Answer.” Kuo used his works to convey the indifference in a relationship and echo Li’s message of isolation in modern society.
 
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Photo from THAV
Taiwanese artist Chen Yun-ju’s “Which One is True?”
 
The rapid development of artificial intelligence (AI) has blurred the relationship between real and virtual worlds. Chen Yun-ju (陳韻如) of Taiwan and Kentaro Taki (瀧健太郎) of Japan interpret the power of technology in today’s society through facial recognition and online games.
 
Chen’s creations include videos, art installations and performing arts. She specializes in combining technology and metaphors. Her work “Which One is True?” (何為真實?) is an interactive mechanical device that interacts with participants through face recognition and tracking technology.
 
The device tracks a viewer’s face, takes a picture, and stores all face images in a database. After being synthesized, the images of real or virtual faces are randomly projected on a big screen.
 
We live in the post-truth era of fake news and social network manipulation, Chen said. With the popularity of AI and face recognition, the images produced by AI-powered face-swapping technology could be truly indistinguishable from reality. That’s why the artist tries to ask a question in her project – Does a photo really tell the truth in a post-truth society?
 
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Photo from THAV
Japanese artist Kentaro Taki’s “Treasure Hunters.” 

Kentaro Taki used a projector and big screen to turn the Cross Plaza of the Treasure Hill Artist Village into a video game scene in his video installation “Treasure Hunters” (尋寶獵人). He hopes that viewers recognize a dilemma in the real world and recover their enthusiasm and desire for happiness.
 
Hsu Tang-wei’s (許唐瑋) “Iridescent Tree: Fruit Planet” (虹光樹:果實星球) looks like two big balls and stands in the deepest area of the Treasure Hill Artist Village.
 
The idea of Hsu’s creation comes from a small trip to a city to primeval forests. It enables viewers to imagine that they enter a primitive but vibrant space filled with known or unknown plants, animals, and insects.
 
Chuang Chih-heng (莊知恆) is one of the resident artists at the Treasure Hill Artist Village for 2019. His project “Sundial of Being” (晷跡) uses laser beams and persistent luminescence materials. The theater lighting designer tries to convey the history of THAV through this luminescent creation.