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Digital Art Center reopens with exhibition on home appliances

By Yali Chen
 
The Digital Art Center (DAC), Taipei, reopened with the cooperation of the Association of the Visual Arts in Taiwan (AVAT) and held a fascinating exhibition to explore the relationship between home appliances and digital art.
 
The AVAT has taken charge of the DAC operations since April 2018. Themed “Lifetime Warranty – The Romance of Home Appliances,” the exhibition functioned as the first step of the Taipei-based DAC, which reopened to the general public on June 16.
 
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Photo from DAC
The DCA commissioner Chung Yung-feng (first from right) at the exhibition
“Lifetime Warranty – The Romance of Home Appliances.”


“It was not easy for the center to reopen,” said Chung Yung-feng, Commissioner of Taipei City’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA). He hopes that the new partner AVAT will develop a good relationship with local communities and open up a wide range of possibilities for the center.
 
“Our opening press conference was specially held on the square in front of the DAC in a move to make the public know that the center had been reborn,” the DAC chief executive officer Loh Li-chen said. “After its reopening, the DAC, located nearby the Tianmu Store of hypermarket chain Carrefour Taiwan, aims to develop a very good relationship with the surrounding neighborhoods and schools. We expect that the DAC will be integrated into the daily lives of local residents.”
 
Running from June 16 until August 4, the new exhibition has become a good start for the center, Loh said, adding that besides showcases, the DAC will also play an important role in nurturing digital artists, holding digital art festivals, and participating in international exchange programs.

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Photo by LRM
The DAC chief executive officer Loh Li-chen has high expectations
for the DAC’s future development.

 
“Digital art is an important part of contemporary art,” said the AVAT chairman Chen Wen-hsiang, who believes that “exhibitions” can serve as a platform for the public to better understand digital art. He also appreciated all the support from the DCA and legislators to enable the center to begin operation again.
 
A total of 11 Taiwanese young artists were invited to give live performances and showcase their eight pieces of artworks, including some works from the collections of the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (NTMoFA) and National Science and Technology Museum (NSTM), as well as three pieces of new creations.
 
The exhibition centers on household appliances to explore their relationship with digital art. A number of questions were raised about the possibility of home appliances with lifetime warranties.

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Photo from DAC
“Vanish No.5-6” (2015) by Tao Ya-lun is part of the collection
of the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts.

 
“We take household appliances as a starting point for viewers to think about digital art,” the exhibition curator Liu Sing-you said, hoping that this exhibition can help change people’s perspective on the digital art center.
 
Liu further explained that some of Taiwanese people would buy home appliances as a housewarming gift. Thus, the first exhibition titled “Lifetime Warranty – The Romance of Home Appliances” means a celebration gift for the DAC to attract audiences to visit the center and gain a better understanding of digital art.
 
The digital artists include Chu Chun-teng, Yu Cheng-ta, Wu Shang-yang, Kuo I-chen, Chen Han-sheng, Tao Ya-lun, Peng Yi-hsuan, and Tsai Yu-tin. Their eight pieces on display not only explore some inspiring questions, such as the connection between home appliances and people, plus the linkage between household appliances and family life, but also demonstrate how fun electrical appliances and digital art are combined.

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Photo from DAC
Two visitors before Peng Yi-hsuan’s installation artwork “The Death of Light” (2016).

In college, Chu had made a number of short films and participated in international film festivals. Inspired by Japanese novelist Kawabata Yasunari’s same-title novel, his graduation work “The House of Sleeping Beauty” was selected into Singapore International Film Festival in 2006 and the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival in 2007. In 2010, Chu earned a master’s degree in MFA Fine Art from Goldsmiths, University of London.
 
Chu’s installation artwork “After the Foaming Weariness” in the Taipei-based DAC showcases a burned-out adaptor – one piece of his previous work “The Foaming Weariness” in 2010 when he used a number of adapters with one Tatung rice cooker to think about the meaning of technology and its use. The burned-out adapter symbolizes part of the young artist’s soul abandoned or left behind over time.
 
Studying art at Taipei National University of the Arts (TNUA) in Taiwan, Yu has held several gallery and museum exhibitions at Taipei Fine Arts Museum and the Taichung-based NTMoFA. The artist specializes in employing humor as a means to make connections or create accidents in his video works.

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Photo from DAC
Tsai Yu-tin’s work “ake-believe” (2018) uses digital images to link
home appliances in the 1980s with modern ones.

 
“Ours Karaoke” (2011) is one of the artist’s video installations. In this video project, Yu invited his friends to sing karaoke in front of his webcam. This YouTube-like video collected by a series of clips from his friends’ extemporaneous performances meets the desire of performers and viewers simultaneously.
 
Wu earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the TNUA in 2015. He explores the relationships among images, light, carriers, machinery, body, and space through a wide variety of media including projection, installation, on-site production, and performance art.
 
Thanks to smartphones, recording videos has never been so easy or effortless. Wu recorded a series of videos on a mobile phone to create his video work “Inbetweening: No.4” in 2018. He also added the concept of inbetweening into his creation. As a key process in all types of animation, including computer animation, inbetweening generates intermediate frames between two images, called key frames, to give the appearance that the first image evolves smoothly into the second one. Wu tries to create a new interrelationship between light and space, thereby redefining the meaning of smartphones.
 
In 2007, Kuo earned a master’s degree in new media art from the TNUA. Through a wide range of media such as interactive units, single-channel video and performance art, he has created his unique poetic artistic language.
 
In 2005, Kuo became the youngest-ever artist to represent Taiwan in the Venice Biennale and won the first prize of Taipei Art Award. His new installation artwork “Full HD TV-Buddha” (2018) pays tribute to Korean-American artist Nam June Paik, regarded as the founder of video art. Paik was famed for his classic work, “TV Buddha” – a video installation depicting a Buddha statue viewing its own live image on a closed circuit TV.
 
Kuo used a broken CRT monitor to reflect full-HD TV images in Paik’s “TV Buddha”. The two monitors from different eras facing each other demonstrate that the invention and ubiquity of TV reflect technological progress.
 
In 2015, Chen earned a master’s degree in new media art from the TNUA. He excels in experimental animation, mixed media, and kinetic installation. His themes often include agriculture, nature, and the coexistence of human beings with their environment.
 
Chen’s new creation “Walk and Look” in 2018 is a good example of anthropomorphism. The young artist gave human characteristics to home appliances, robot vacuum cleaners in particular. In his opinion, the robot vacuums moving around freely seem to be the smartest electronic creatures in a house. With anthropomorphic projections, he reexamined the impact of electrical appliances on humans.
 
As a leading figure in Taiwan’s new media arts, Tao explores the meaning of human existence in the era of technology to provoke contemplation and reflection. His artworks are renowned for the integration of machinery with lights and images. Two pieces of his creations, “Vanish No.5-6 (2015)”, have been collected by the Taichung-based NTMoFA.
 
Peng turned mosquito lamps into his installation artwork “The Death of Light” (2016). One showroom of the Taipei-based DAC is filled with a number of mosquito lamps. “Are viewers waiting for mosquitos or digital art?” asked by the Tainan-based new media artist.
 
Tsai’s creation “ake-believe” (2018) combines white glue frottage and the technology of soft films. The artist turned her work into children’s toys for playing house and put them with the antique electrical devices in the eighties borrowed from the Taichung-based NSTM to create the imagination between families and home appliances.
 
This special exhibition will run until August 4. A creation show combining sound and dance will be given on July 6. The organizers are also set to hold a seminar on curating and creation on the same day. A DIY workshop for home appliance repair will be held on July 21. For more details, please go to https://dac.tw/