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Taipei Public Arts Project restores glory days of Wanxin Railway

By Yali Chen
 
Now in its 4th year, Taipei Public Arts Project kicked off with the story of Wanxin Railway – a branch line that once connected Wanhua and Xindian. This year’s festival continues the concept of “Unseen Taipei” and will run until October 21. The project will temporarily restore some of Taipei’s disappearing landscape through 3 pieces of public artworks as well as a series of events such as 8 literary walking tours, 10 art lectures, 6 workshops, and 2 temporary street closings.

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Photo from TPAP
The DCA Deputy Commissioner Tien Wei (center in the first row) announces
the kickoff of Taipei Public Arts Project, which will run until October 21.

 
Built in 1921, Wanxin Railway became part of history in 1965. During the Qing Dynasty, it traversed the south area of downtown Taipei City and is now known as Dingzhou Road.
 
Tien Wei, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), said that like the present-day Taipei MRT, Wanxin Railway once symbolized the modernization and development of the south area of downtown Taipei City. Local artists now use the latest interactive technology to restore the original glory of Wanxin Railway.

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Photo from TPAP
Children draw a number of the railway carriages to symbolize the future of a new journey.
 

The south area of downtown Taipei City now includes Toad Mountain, Treasure Hill, Taipei Water Park, the Wen-Luo-Ding area (Wenzhou, Roosevelt, and Dingzhou Roads), Taipei City Hakka Cultural Park, and the Kishu An Forest of Literature in Taipei.

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Photo from TPAP
A father and son interact with a piece of public artworks to create
a series of railway images through the mirror effect.

 
Surrounded by Xindian River and Nangang Mountain System, that south area has nurtured a wide variety of immigrant cultures, settlements, natural ecology, plus literary and art landscapes.

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Photo from TPAP
Several three-dimensional Chinese characters are scattered on the grassland
of the Kishu An Forest of Literature in Taipei.
 

“It means that the south area of downtown Taipei City is a combination of new and old developments, urban and natural landscapes, plus mainstream culture and subculture,” Tien said.

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Photo from TPAP
One viewer touches a piece of temporary public artwork to better understand
the story of Wanxin Railway.

 
The project curator Zhou De-hao explained that “Unseen Taipei,” the theme of this year’s festival, can be divided into three temporary artworks – the unseen Wanxin Railway, the unseen culture and art, plus the unseen waterfront of Xindian River. Apart from railway history, viewers can also watch the disappearing Wanxin Railway through AR (augmented reality) technology.