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Department of Cultural Affairs

Feature Story

Inner self in focus at 2016 The Original Festival

1. U Theatre's work Dr. Miss' Experimental Log is aimed to reconcile with one's self.Photo courtesy of Original Festival).

Taking on the idea that creation involves an endless conversation between one and one's inner self, 2016 The Original Festival aimed to bring the audience back into where the creation first originated.

The theme "Facing your inner self" is derived from the concept that creators are inclined to source from personal experiences in the beginning phase of creation, said organizer and Songshan Cultural and Creative Park Executive DirectorJasmine Chou. Running into the fifth year, the festival boasted a comprehensive showcase of original creation energy over the past year. Positioned as the 'culture hub of Taipei', the organizer offered a feast of music performances, exhibitions, markets and more during the weeklong event from Dec. 2 to 11.

2. Zhang, Xu Zhan's work Hsin Hsin Paper Home Series: Room001 is a new artistic expression of this traditional art craft.(Photo courtesy of Original Festival)

The main exhibition was divided into four interconnected sections to explore different facets of creation. The journey unfolded with the subtheme "Where I Am"—which can be urban or rural; crowded or quiet; at home or on the go. The varied time-space an artist has experienced would revoke nostalgia or new energy to be inhibited in their creations.

"To me, photography is about being among the people, and building connections with others," said acclaimed photographer Juan I-jong. His perception of Taipei was'conveyed through 'Taipei Rumor' series that captured the rapidly changing Taipei in the 80s.

Jointly in display was 'Double Happiness in a Courtyard' by his son, Juan Sea. Perceiving Taipei as a playground where there is always something new under the sun, Juan Sea snapshots ordinary scenes in the city as the major creation method.

"Both of us shoot Taipei, but mine is 30 years ago, and his is now; mine is black-and-white and his is colorful," said elder Juan.

"I think the contrast would ignite curiosity from the viewers," said the father as their works conveyed different viewpoints upon the city. The method of display was also tailored to better communicate with the younger generations. Instead of conventional paper photo display, projection and wording explanations were applied this time.

Audio is another medium employed by artists to express their connection to the land. Vocal artist Wu, Tsan-Cheng spent years venturing around Taiwan and recording voices to compose 'Taiwan Soundmap Project-Coastline'. "Every voice I captured is with a purpose,dz said Wu, continued to say that DzI always ponder over why the sound is like this and how people react to it as it would lead us to know better the place we live."

3. Wu, Shang-lin's work Graduation Photo captured the pondering moments of students. (Photo courtesy of Original Festival)

In creators' hearts live children with the wildest ideas, said Chou. So the exhibition zone titled "Inner Child" revealed a world full of wonder and color where allows every possibility. Artist Chan Raintree fulfilled his craziness through paper."I have had wild flights of fancy since I was a child," said Chan. From the moment he fell in love with the texture and color of paper, his creation has been closely bonded with the material. "I applied paper and performance as the media to reassemble, deconstruct, and combine to yield my creation," said Chan.

Artist Candy Bird on the other hand visualized his ideas through graffiti creation. His work 'YA JHOU SU SHIH', literally means 'Asian Fast Food', was inspired by comic hero serial movies—box office hits in Taiwan recent years. He approached from perspectives such as the invasion of entertaining industry; loss of cultural subjectivity; and gender bias, striving to reinterpret the definition of 'hero' in Taiwanese culture.

Hybrid creative studio of graphics and video installation, Whitelight Motion, this time determined to intrigue viewers' curiosity. "In the past we tended to mold a specific atmosphere through scheming space and image arrangement," said a team member. "But this time we hoped to make the audience question what happened behind the scene as they viewed the installation." They created a space where the audience would experience confusing emotions like puzzled, triggered to laugh, and also overwhelmed. The varied reaction from the people was part of the work, they said.

Another eye-catcher in the subcategory was Mr. Eyeball and his work. Always appearing as a giant eyeball like headgear covering his face, the artist this time encouraged viewers to recall what makes them happy. His exhibit 'Are You Happy?' applied plenty of neon colors, which represent the brilliant happiness people are searching for. "I hope everyone can be his or her true selves," he said.

Moving on to the third section where we explored the unseen prints of creators from their growth, past, and cultures. "We hope viewers can trace back to the roots which nourished creators in the subcategory, as many of them were inspired and influenced by their families," said Chou.

4. Mr. Eyeball's exhibit encourages people to pursue their own happiness. (Photo courtesy of Original Festival)

Zhang, Xu-Zhan is one of them. Growing up in a paper craft shop, Hsin Hsin Joss Paper, with a hundred years of history, Zhang reflected on what this traditional art meant to him and the society through the process of creation. He strived to breathe new air into this traditional craft by sourcing ideas from childhood experiences, which turned into a paper doll animation called 'Hsin Hsin Paper Home Series: Room001.' His hard work on the project paid off as earlier this year, the shop was invited to participate at Les D'Ddays 2016 event in France to showcase their works in Paris Musée des Arts Décoratifs.

Self-portrait is also one of the frequently applied methods to communicate with oneǯs inner self and has been a favorite approach by artist Wu Shang-lin. On display 'Graduation Photo' included 37 portraits of students with closed eyes and a pondering pose. "We close our eyes to ponder life and conceive how we will be in the future," he said. Another exhibit called 'If tomorrow is the end of the world' tried to answer the question that if living is created through imaginations then how people will conceive the end of the world.

"Creators canǯt escape the endless conversation within, so in the fourth section we will see how them challenge themselves and find themselves," said Chou.

Every corner, every choice, every encounter may lead one's life into another direction. U-Theatre's Chen, Shao-Fo has deep feeling about this. She embarked on a self-exploration trip during her study in Italy and thus gave birth to thetheater 'Dr. Miss' Experimental Log'. To Chen, the process of creation might be stumbling and painful, but what is garnered along the way will turn into the energy for another journey.

5. Photographer Juan I-Jong's works captured scenes of Taipei from the 80's. (Photo Courtesy of Origial Festival)

Often questioned by others about their choice of art study, a team of students from Graphic Communication Arts of National Taiwan University of Arts invited young Taiwan artists to reinterpret their work during discussions with experienced artists about their creations. This demonstrated the distinguished viewpoints belonging to the younger generations.

"Creation is indeed the process of creators finding themselves," concluded one team member. Through the work, they wished to convey the idea that being faced with unpredictable future, people will carry the past with them and yet move on.