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Zhongshan MRT Station enlivened with art installations

A band performs in from of the BIGPOW music player installation in the linear park of Zhongshan MRT Station

Passersby hurrying through Taipei's Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system may slow down a bit when they encounter the fascinating artworks newly installed in the linear park which runs on the ground level around Zhongshan Station.

"Datong District is a place where you find a harmonious mixture of historic buildings and modern art," said Hsieh Hsiao-yun, the newly-appointed Commissioner of Department of Cultural Affairs for Taipei City, in an unveiling ceremony held March 7.

The ‘Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei (MOCA) Plaza to MRT Station Public Art Installation Project’ is being developed and maintained by the Department of Cultural Affairs under the theme of ‘Taipei is So Pretty.’

Four Taiwan artists participated in this project - Lee Yihsun, Liang Jenhung, Akibo, and Hsu Tangwei. Each of the four artists utilized different materials to create artworks which reflect very diverse styles, with all serving as reflections of the local culture.

Lee, who specializes in mosaic inlays, designed six themes that symbolize distinct features of the local district after performing an extensive investigation of the area.

A bevy of lively animals playing on the ground represents the energy of business activities and citizens living in and passing through the vicinity. Nearby, brilliantly sparkling paintings of a treasury brighten the once-plain wall of a machine room.

Liang's imagination was captured by the wind, which he sees as the carrier of messages. He therefore erected giant hot air balloons which signify booming voices resounding from every corner of the city.

Heading toward the R4 entry which leads to the Zhongshan underground mall, passengers will be delighted to find that Hsu has ushered the station into another dimension by installing sculptures with shapes that are somewhere between outer space machines and unearthly creatures.

BIGPOW, a robot with a passion for music, is the brainchild of the artist Akibo. Located in the circle theater in Zhongshan Linear Park, BIGPOW along with his twin sisters can play music when an MP3 or cell phone is hooked up through the interface.

"Seeing young people dance to their own music gave me the idea of creating a place equipped with better music players," said Akibo.

The MOCA has also planned a series of activities for the general public, including DIY creation of mosaic inlays, an introduction to the principles behind LED lighting, public art exhibitions and more. The ultimate aim is to show how citizens can achieve more aesthetic lifestyles by participating in public projects, said the MOCA spokesman.