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Taipei Original Festival turns Songshan Park into a fantasy world

By Yali Chen
This year’s Taipei Original Festival turned the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park in Taipei into a fantasy world. The park has become a vast museum without walls.
Taipei Culture Foundation (TCF) invited 11 contemporary artists to show their creations in the park between November 29 and December 8. It was the first time for the festival to take place outside.
kickoff of Taipei Original Festival in 2019
Photo from TCF
From left to right, Chen Yu-hsiu, Director of the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park; Taipei City Deputy Mayor Tsai Bing-kuen; and Taipei Culture Foundation Chairman Li Yuan announce the kickoff of Taipei Original Festival in 2019.
In his speech at the November 29 opening ceremony of this year’s festival, Taipei City Deputy Mayor Tsai Bing-kuen said that the city government had held a wide variety of arts and cultural events for citizens. He invited them to participate in these activities to gain a better understanding of this city.
“This year saw the 80th anniversary of the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park and the 8th year of Taipei Original Festival,” said the TCF Chairman Li Yuan, alias “Hsiao Yeh.”
The Songshan Cultural and Creative Park used to be a government-run tobacco factory during the period of Japanese rule from 1895 to 1945. With almost 2,000 workers living and working on the factory premises, it was once the largest tobacco factory in Southeast Asia.
In 2011, the factory became a thriving, cultural hub for exhibitions and performances. Now the park is achieving prosperity through heritage revitalization, exhibitions and multidisciplinary performances.
This year’s festival aims to combine participating artists and stores in the neighborhood of the park to create the vast museum without walls, the park director Chen Yu-hsiu (陳玉秀) said.
The artists include Yu Wen-fu (游文富), seed spacelab (彡苗空間實驗), Lin Shu-ling (林淑鈴), Wang Chien-yang (王建揚), bluestunnel (藍色隧道), Wu Chien-yi (吳芊頤), Chen Yen-ting (陳彥廷), Lee Wen-cheng (李文政), Hsiao Sheng-chien (蕭聖健), Lin Shu-yu (林書瑜), and Chuang Chih-wei (莊志維).
Bamboos and Feathers
Yu Wen-fu’s artwork “Pink Dream.
Photo from TCF
Yu Wen-fu’s artwork “Pink Dream.”
Born in Douliu, Yunlin in 1968, Yu Wen-fu moved to Zhushan, Nantou with his parents. He has been very interested in painting, calligraphy, and bamboo handicrafts since his childhood. In his youth, Yu was admitted to a military school and was discharged after nine years of service. Since then he has devoted all his energies to art creations.
Bamboos and feathers are two major media for Yu’s creations. The former symbolize the artist’s return to his hometown of Zhushan and looking back to his childhood. The latter symbolizes his pursuit of his dreams.
Yu’s installation artwork “Pink Dream” (粉夢幻) was located near an old building in the park. The artist used 50,000 pink-dyed bamboo sticks to create a fantasy world for this year’s festival. Surrounded by the bamboo sticks, feather trees and seats, viewers can immerse themselves in a fantasy of happiness.
A Colorful Kaleidoscope
The Taipei-based seed spacelab’s artwork “North Wind Disco.
Photo from TCF
The Taipei-based seed spacelab’s artwork “North Wind Disco.”

The Taipei-based seed spacelab was founded in 2016 by five young people Yueh Mei-chen (樂美成), Cheng Yu-wei (鄭又維), Lo Kai (羅開), Lu An-ting (呂安庭), and Chiu Yu-ping (邱宇平). They all specialized in architecture, landscape and playscape design.
The artist group used street light poles in the park to create the colorful installation work “North Wind Disco” (北風DISCO). It looked like a vortex of winds and lights to draw viewers into a colorful kaleidoscope.
Born in 1968, Lin Shu-ling was good at making glove puppet helmets and costumes. In 1994, she documented the costume styles of traditional glove puppets in the I Wan Ran Puppet Theater (亦宛然掌中劇團).
One year later, Lin took to diving and got immersed in marine photography. She was deeply fascinated by the mysteries of the undersea. Her later artworks would always reflect this fascination.
After moving to Hualien in 2010, she began weaving with bamboo, rattan, packing tapes and fibers. Her creations branched out into weaving art, three-dimensional pottery, and installation art. They have been showcased in the Paris Cultural Center in France, Museum of Asian Arts in Nice, France, and the Ethnographic Museum in the Province of Guanajuato, Mexico.
Supplemented by the use of light, Lin’s work “Souls of Creation” (予造物以靈魂) for this year’s festival looked like a “lighting sculpture.” The artist used her weaving skills to create a happy paradise.
Society’s Selfie Culture

Wang Chien-yang’s creation “Narcissus Paradise.
Photo from TCF
Wang Chien-yang’s creation “Narcissus Paradise.”
Wang Chien-yang is a visual and installation artist, as well as a painter and photographer. He created a series of works to describe otaku life in the world. His creation, titled “House” (宅), explored how the Internet’s virtual world has invaded every house. Young people in modern society are addicted to online games and remain holed up in their homes.
His latest work “Narcissus Paradise” (納西瑟斯的樂園) for the festival focused on the interaction between social media, computer networks and the young generation. It also explored the influential culture of selfies in modern society.
Artist Jian Jun-sheng, alias bluestunnel, has been known for mural artworks. His mural “Unlimited Rebirth” (無限Rebirth) for the festival was inspired by his future imagination of the park. He depicted this park as full of magic. He used digital and abstract means to express that the park was full of dynamic information and cultural events.
Wu Chien-yi excels in composite media and installation artworks. She cares about social phenomena and culture in daily life. In 2011, her works explored consumer behavior and culture on online shopping platforms.
The idea behind Wu’s creation “Shadows in the Tobacco Field” (菸田拾影) this year lies in cigarette packaging design and patterns. She restructured the scenes of tobacco fields and harvesting tobacco leaves in Taiwan to create lights and virtual shadows on the windows of old buildings in the park. Her installation artwork reshaped the historical memories of the tobacco factory.
Raising Concern for Leopard Cats
Chen Yen-ting was a pupil of Taiwanese paper-cutting master Li Huan-chang (李煥章). He learned paper-cutting by cutting out some Chinese characters such as “Spring” (春) and “Happiness” (囍). His paper-cutting short films and posters have won several international awards, including the iF Design Award, Red Dot Design Award, and Annecy International Animation Film Festival Award.
This year, the paper-cutting artist used two Chinese characters “Fantasy” (幻) and “Place” (場), plus the image of flowers to create his work “Ancient and Modern Fantasies” (古今幻場) on the window frames of an old tobacco building. His creation integrates the beauty of modern visual vocabulary into traditional paper-cutting art, expressing blessings for good luck and happiness.
Leopard cats, small wild cats native to continental South, Southeast and East Asia, have become endangered animals in Taiwan. Recent reports of leopard cats killed by cars on Miaoli County’s roads have raised concerns for their future on the island.
With vivid animal images and street colors in Taiwan, Lee Wen-cheng’s artwork “Lucky Taxi” (好運計程車) tried to explore the issue of life education and wild animals killed on the roads.
Chuang Chih-wei’s “Low-light Project: Empty Corridor” – the only installation artwork for nights during Taipei Original Festival.
Photo from TCF
Chuang Chih-wei’s “Low-light Project: Empty Corridor” – the only installation artwork for nights during Taipei Original Festival.
In college, Hsiao Sheng-chien’s main creative form was ink painting, focusing on the exploration of Zen, Eastern philosophy, and human nature. After studying at Tainan National University of the Arts in 1999, he switched to science and art creations.
In the past, the Kaohsiung-based artist tended to use high-tech methods to present his works. But in recent years, he has changed to very low-tech approaches to convey undying craftsmanship in modern society.
Hsiao’s creation “Return” (歸) sought to connect his childhood memories to historical memories and mechanical sounds made by old items. It reminded people to cherish the natural environment and beautiful things around them.
Lin Shu-yu graduated from the Graduate Institute of New Media Arts, Taipei National University of the Arts, and currently lives in Taipei. He specializes in sensory interaction, mechanical dynamics, interactive installation, and image art. His works are based on his contemplation of personal experiences. One of his creations won first prize at the Digital Art Awards Taipei in 2016.
Through light and space, Lin’s work “Eclipse” (蝕) in the park triggered viewers to rethink about their body perceptions and spatial relations.
With his training in fine arts and architecture, Chuang Chih-wei excels in creating interactive installations with light and space to explore the relationship between humans and the environment. His works always feature the balance between rationality and sensibility. He is one of the resident artists for 2019 to 2020 at the National Taichung Theater.
Chuang’s creation “Low-light Project: Empty Corridor” (裝置微光計畫:空廊) was the only installation artwork for nights during the festival. The artist used one street in the park as the main axis to create a floating corridor. At night it looked like a phantom passage or bright star with a long tail sweeping across the sky.