Wednesday, November 5th, 2008...8:45 am

三天在台北, three days in Taipei

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It has been an action packed few days in Taipei!  淇璎’s (Flora) family was unbelievably hospitable and she made sure I got to see highlights from the entire city.

The first day was an art chase first to the Ceramics Biennial and then to the Taipei Fine Arts Museum for the Taipei Biennial. The Ceramics Biennial was an inspiring departure from my usual taste of new media oriented work.  The second stop was the Taipei 2008 Biennial.  It was an amazing contrast between the Shanghai Biennial in that a large majority of the work in Taipei was focused on world politics and subculture. The  Shanghai exhibition in contrast  focused on glorification of China and national progress.  Undoubtedly a product of the government’s influence of curation and content in mainland China versus a more progressive and political active population in Taipei..

The second day we first went to the MOCA Taipei for the Digital Arts festival.  About half of the work was interactive video while the other was animation screenings.  The majority of the animation felt juvenile, with content unreasonably emotional or gruesome. The interactive art was very well fabricated, but a lot of the work lacked any significant level of innovation and felt more like repeats of common interactive art techniques.

After the festival we hopped a little bus and headed up out of town for a bit of scenery.  The bus climbed and wound around to the peak of the mountain.  We hiked down a mountain side with the puffs of a steaming volcano in the distance.  It’s always nice to be reminded where the earth you standing on originated from.

The third day we rose early and the whole family headed down to 台中 (Tai Chung) to get out of town.  I really wanted to see the country side and taste the different flavor outside of a city.  South of Taipei feels very tropical, reminding me that we are indeed on an island in the pacific.  淇璎’s family was so accommodating and accepting I felt like one of their own.  We made several stop, one at  some incredible geological formations from the 1999 earthquake.  We went to a Buddhist temple to donate food to the monks and pay homage to the idols. Since Taiwan escaped the religious repression that China experienced the organized religion is far more developed.  I hadn’t really noticed its absense in China until I saw it so estalished in Taipei.

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