Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab
Taiwan Contemporary Culture Laboratory (C-LAB) was established in 2018, under the executive planning of the Taiwan Living Arts Foundation, a directive of the Ministry of Culture. The mission of the project is to forge a new ecosystem for cultural innovation, to promote cultural experimentation and social innovation, and to provide a public cultural experience in explorations of the future of culture.
C-LAB is based in the former Air Force Command Headquarters, which had formerly served as the Industrial Research Institute for the Taiwan Governor General’s Office. Post-war, the venue came under the management of the Taiwan Provincial Administrative Executive Office when was converted to the Taiwan Provincial Industrial Laboratory. In 1950, the site was established as the Ministry of Defense Air Force Command Head Quarters, the highest office of command for air defense and combat.
C-LAB has revitalized the space by consolidating contemporary creative culture through multifunctional capabilities and facility services in anticipation of constructing an arena for the practice and experimentation for future social and cultural visions. These include innovative artistic and cultural experimentations, performances, and exhibitions; interdisciplinary collaborations and co-creations; international cultural exchanges; educational research and workshops; community cultural attractions; and an urban aesthetic park.
“Innovation” is the core concept and active guideline in the formation of this preeminent incubator for Taiwan’s contemporary culture. C-Lab’s mission is to forge an innovative experimental platform with a view toward the future: internationally, to promote links for dialogue between Taiwan and the world, and to stimulate the contemporary cultural imagination specific to life experiences in Taiwan and Asia; and domestically, to serve as a physical base that nurtures creative development with the objective of enabling interactive stimulation between various creative ideas in order to construct an open and inclusive cultural ecology and social environment.
The implementation direction for C-LAB begins with “constructing a platform for integrating innovation” as a starting point. Firmly grounded a forward-looking, open and inclusive mechanism, as well as a cultural ecology that stimulates and absorbs various innovations and concepts, C-LAB brings together and nurtures all types of innovations. It exceeds traditional arts and cultural institutions in innovative impetus, and is capable of creating interdisciplinary and diverse cultural panoramas. To this end, C-LAB will be accepting proposals for residencies from cultural professionals and technological support teams that promote interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral projects for collaboration and co-creation that catalyze integration and exchange between the contemporary art world and other discipline and knowledge arenas, or social practice organizations.
The Current Phase
C-LAB launched a six-year two-phase construction plan earlier this year (2018) that will further establish C-LAB by developing cultural innovation, by revitalizing and renovating the space and facilities at the base, and by fully enabling software and hardware functionality. At present, these tasks have been gradually rolled out with plans for five major laboratories; the active development of various laboratory projects and exhibition performance activities; as well as initiating simultaneous construction restoration projects at the base – to instigate collaborative thinking through cultural experimentation and public participation.
The first-phase plans for C-LAB (2018-2019) anticipates the construction of a “cultural innovation” ecology that promote various cross-sectoral collaboration or cooperative co-creative experimental projects. The process and results of each experiment will be based on a principle of “publicization,” so that the benefits expand to various technological, social and lifestyle sectors. At the same time, the operational team will propose long-term developmental strategies and master planning for the next phase. Phase two (2020-2013) will gradually implement various themed laboratories, co-creation studios, cultural venues, educational base, international residency arenas, public participation areas, as well as finalize construction and renovation of the relevant auxiliary facilities to become an innovative experimental institution that links Taiwan and the world.
The Long-Term Mission
The core of the recent work at C-LAB focuses on developing a cultural ecology; hence, there is an emphasis on supporting the process of nascent innovative culture production synergies through the five main laboratories. Once the support network for the cultural innovation ecology reaches a degree of maturity, and when the six-year spatial renovation and facility construction plan reaches completion, C-LAB shall become the most important institution of cultural innovation on a national scale from its seat of artistic innovation in the capital city. In addition to forging network systems for cultural production: including cultural experimentation, cultural research, and cultural construction, we hope to provide an impetus for propelling social innovation and further expanding this network system in order to form links to Asia and the world beyond, to propose brand-new perspectives targeting global contemporary cultural trends, and to become a visible cultural force in the Asian region.