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Department of Culture Affairs

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Taipei Poetry Festival adds VR experiences for the first time

By Yali Chen
 
Taipei City’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) held a press conference on September 19 for the annual Taipei Poetry Festival, curated by two poets Hung Hung and Yang Chia-hsien, who hope that more people appreciate the beauty of poetry and songs.

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The DCA Commissioner Chung Yung-feng (from left to right), VR artist Yang Nai-chen, poet-in-residence Nicholas Wong, curators Yang Chia-hsien, and Hung Hung attend the Sept. 19 press conference to announce the kickoff of Taipei Poetry Festival.
 
The festival that runs from September 22 to October 17 has a total of 19 events that include 1 large-scale performance, 1 poetry exhibition, 5 poetry films, and 10 lectures. Four poets from Russia, Catalonia, Hong Kong and Myanmar, as well as one poet-in-residence from Hong Kong have come to Taiwan for poetry exchange.

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Curators Hung Hung (left) and Yang Chia-hsien expect that poetry can become a medium for rewriting the meaning of urban space.
 
The theme of this year’s festival is “Heterotopia of Poetry,” which aims to transform Taipei into a poetic city.
 
“The idea of utopia is used to express an imaginary, virtual world,” said Yang, one of the curators. “But the idea of heterotopia can be put into practice in the real world by redefining the meaning of a space.”

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Poet-in-residence Nicholas Wong from Hong Kong recites a poem “Onlys,” which he wrote for Taipei City.
 
For example, youngsters often gather at the underground shopping street of Taipei Main Station on weekends to learn and practice street dance moves. Yang said that this was an expression of heterotopia because it transforms the underground street into a dancing venue. She hopes that through this year’s festival, poetry can become a medium for rewriting the meaning of urban space.

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Poet-in-residence Nicholas Wong from Hong Kong immerses himself in a poetic world by getting the real experience of VR interaction.
 
Taipei Poetry Festival always emphasizes the contemporary feel of a city, the DCA Commissioner Chung Yung-feng said, adding that this year’s event will combine virtual reality (VR) and music performances to lead more people into poetry.

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One scene of the VR poetry show – “The Crossed Paths of a Poetry Worm” during the Taipei Poetry Festival.
 
Now in its 18th year, the festival kicked off with a VR poetry show – “The Crossed Paths of a Poetry Worm.” This was the first time that we’d integrated VR experiences into the poetry festival, curator Hung Hung said. “This new experiment will enable the audience to immerse themselves in a poetic world.”