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Fictional Life: Hybridity, Transgenetics, Innovation Online Project—Virtual Forum

Coexisting with Viruses (As Usual)

Date and time:2020.06.23(Tue.)19:00-21:00
Lecturer:LIN Pei-Ying
Host:Chih-Yung Aaron CHIU

Humans and viruses have coexisted since the dawn of time, but we often forget how closely connected we are with them. This forum is based on a 3-piece art series that is based on viruses, with discussions held on artist LIN Pei-Ying’s creative journey since 2011. In the past decade, Lin has focused on viruses and observed the subject matter’s epochal changes. Her creative endeavors involve digging through countless scientific papers, and she has also been confronted with challenges because certain subjects of scientific art couldn’t be processed or directly materialized. Additionally, she has also unexpectedly created an artwork that has become a reality right before our eyes.

About the Lecturer

LIN Pei-Ying is an artist / designer from Taiwan and currently based in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Her main focus is on the combination of science and human society through artistic methods, and is particularly interested in building a common discussion ground for different cultural perspective regarding elements that constructs our individual perception of the world. Recently she has been focusing on manipulating the boundary of invisible/visible, living/non-living and finding ways to build tools and methods that facilitate such explorations. She has won the Honorary Mention in Hybrid Arts Category of Ars Electronica 2015, Professional Runner Up in Speculative Concepts of Core 77 Awards 2015, BioArt and Design Award 2016, and the first group of Taiwanese artists of residence in the program of Accelerate@CERN. Her project PSX Consultancy is a permanent collection of Museum of Architecture and Design, Slovenia.

About the Host

Professor Chih-Yung Aaron CHIU is now a full professor in Interdisciplinary Program of Technology and Art, College of Arts at National Tsing Hua University, as well as a curator, photographer, art critic. He received his PhD from School of Interdisciplinary Arts at Ohio University in USA, with double major in visual arts (painting, sculpture and architecture) and film studies (film aesthetics, theories and criticism), as well as a minor in aesthetics (phenomenology).


Paul VANOUSE: Resisting Reductivism

Date and time:2020.06.30(Tue.)20:30-22:00
Lecturer:Paul VANOUSE
Host:Theresa Tsun-Hui TSAO

❖ The forum will be held in English

VANOUSE’s artistic practice with bio-media challenges the cultural authority of DNA and genetic identity, which are epitomized in slogans like “you are your DNA” and “DNA is destiny.” Such reductive slogans are rooted in historic discriminatory and colonial practices. Most of his artworks have used actual DNA as both a medium of expression, as well as a subject of investigation. For instance, in one of his earliest bio-media projects “Relative Velocity Inscription Device” (2002), he literally races skin color gene DNA from his bi-racial family members in a DNA gel to poetically and ironically investigate the very idea of genetic fitness. His current project, “Labor” (2017), uses living bacteria strains of the human epidermis, but stems from his earlier critique of genetic identity, as it is clear that bacterial, non-human life helps to create our olfactory identity. Indeed, the importance of our microbiome in nearly all bodily functions, from digestion to cognition, undermines the reductive omnipotence granted DNA in the early 2000s.

In this talk, VANOUSE will discuss his myriad work at the junctures of the life sciences and Art, as an artist and professor working with bio-media for over twenty years, and for the past five years as the founding director of the Coalesce Center for Biological Arts. Coalesce’s activities include hosting an artist-in-residence program, graduate and faculty research, interdisciplinary university courses, community workshops and conferences, and is dedicated to fostering hands-on creative engagement with the tools of the life sciences. Coalesce opened in 2015 as a key facet of the Genome, Environment and Microbiome Community of Excellence at the University at Buffalo.

About the Lecturer

Paul VANOUSE is an artist and professor at the University at Buffalo, NY, where he directs the Coalesce Center for Biological Art. Interdisciplinarity and impassioned amateurism guide his practice. His artwork been exhibited in over 25 countries and widely across the US. Solo exhibitions include: Burchfield-Penny Gallery in Buffalo (2019), Esther Klein Gallery in Philadelphia (2016), Beall Center at UC Irvine (2013), Muffathalle in Munich (2012), Schering Foundation in Berlin (2011), and Kapelica Gallery in Ljubljana (2011). Other venues have included, Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, New Museum in New York, Museo Nacional in Buenos Aires, Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, ZKM in Karlsrhue, and Albright-Knox in Buffalo. His work has been discussed in journals including: Art Journal, Art News, Art Papers, Flash Art, Leonardo, New Art Examiner, After Image and the New York Times. His recent project, “Labor”, received the Golden Nica at Prix ARS Electronica in Linz, Austria (2019). He has an MFA from Carnegie Mellon University.

About the Host

Theresa Tsun-Hui TSAO was graduated from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia, with a PhD majoring on biotechnology. She then worked for many years as a postdoc in National Taiwan University and National Taiwan University Hospital. In 2019, she joined the College of Arts, National Tsing-Hua University (NTHU), Taiwan, and hosts the NTHU BioArt Laboratory. Her works, Suffocating@Love, Needle Therapy, Blood Power Station, HEREiAM™, and EdiGenics, applied medical(-like) procedures, biotechniques, and genetic engineering to explore the distortion of perception and the limitation of technology.


Hara Hachi Bu: Shrinking towards abundance

Date and time:2020.07.05(Sun.)19:30-21:00
Lecturer:Arne HENDRIKS
Host:LIN Ying-Tung
Host:Paul GONG

❖ The forum will be held in English

Like most people Dutch artist and artistic researcher Arne HENDRIKS is obsessed with growth. But where most people embrace the prospect of growth Hendriks is more interested in viable alternatives to growth, and perhaps even shrinking. He will proof that the quickest way to grow is to actually shrink. Some of the other questions he will try to answer during his talk are: How will the human species overcome its obsession with growth? How can we cultivate a desire to become smaller? What are the mental and physical challenges Homo sapiens needs to tackle in order to refine a balance with its environment? What can we learn from Galapagos marine iguanas and the giant carrots of Almolonga? What do Dutch males and peacocks have in common? How will the hallmarks of cancer guide us towards an alternative economic system? And what does Rod Stewart have to do with the first agricultural revolution?

This talk will take us from Stockholm to the Ituri forest in Congo, from Okinawa to Copacabana, and from Ecuador to Indonesia. Arne Hendriks has only one request before you join his talk, please suspend your disbelief.

About the Lecturer

Arne HENDRIKS is an artist, researcher and exhibition maker based in Amsterdam. He’s been called a radical ecologist, a what if wizard and fundamental human species activist. HENDRIKS explores the borders of specific cultural values that define our relationship with the planet. He believes we should be more generous towards ourselves in allowing radical new ideas and practices into our understanding of ecology. Some of his recent projects include The Incredible Shrinking Man which is an ongoing investigation on physically downsizing the human species, 8 Billion City, one city for the entire human population. Fatberg, the building of an island of fat on the waterfront of Amsterdam, and Growth, an inquiry into our obsession with the accumulation of a factor. His artistic research residencies include The Hubrecht Institute, Netherlands Institute of Advanced Studies/ KNAW and Rabobank. HENDRIKS is currently artist in residence at Wageningen University.

About the Host

LIN Ying-Tung is an assistant professor at the Institute of Philosophy of Mind and Cognition, National Yang-Ming University. Ying-Tung completed her Ph.D. at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. Her research interests lie in the areas of philosophy of mind, philosophy of memory, consciousness studies and neuroethics. Her current projects focus on visual perspectives and self-consciousness in episodic memory and the nature of suffering.

Paul Gong is a speculative designer, artist, and curator. He holds an MA in Design Interactions from the Royal College of Art in London. He was awarded the Next Art Tainan Awards in 2018. He attempts to use installation, text and image, conceptual objects, performance, and exhibition to create a kind of scenario for people to imagine and explore. His work has been exhibited at MAS, Museum aan de Stroom, Antwerp, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, Taiwan Design Museum, Yiri Arts, Taipei Digital Art Center, and Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab in Taipei, USC 5D Institute in Los Angeles, Future Gallery in Palo Alto, Asian Culture Center in Gwangju, London, and Guangzhou. He sees design as a research method and thinking tool to explore different possibilities, to criticise the past and the present, and to speculate the future. —Alchemy

Date and time:2020.07.16(Thu.)19:30-21:00
Artist:X. zip
Host:Theresa Tsun-Hui TSAO
Reviewer:HUANG Da-Wang

A historical overview indicates that both the reveries of Homunculus and Frankenstein originated from the human obsession with artificial souls. Humans tend to exhaust their resources to satisfy their desires and experiment on the proper ways to create life, striving to extract the essence of soul from the void. Treating the production of “artificial life” as the theme, this group represents humans’ curiosity about and desires for life forms through this sound performance theater interlaced by souls and human bodies amidst the experiment brimming with scientific fantasies. The ravaged data, the rituals deemed taboos by scientists, and the endless low-frequency vibrations that haunt the laboratory’s entrance are all thrown into disorder… precipitously.

About the Artists

The of Cool and Bang is an experimental sound performance group comprised of brave souls enrolled in the College of Arts, National Tsing Hua University, an institution orientated towards transdisciplinary collaboration, Big Data, 5G, block-chain, machine learning, and innovative leadership. Dedicating itself to accomplishing the university’s objectives, this group follows contemporary fashion trends and builds a culture in the environment whose own culture has not taken shape yet. Coming from diverse backgrounds, the members of this group create works either individually or collectively.

Unzipping this group, we know that its current members include elim.wav, Nudimal.fbx, an.xz, DSimbaU.wav, Baba.png, and shiro.???.


The Future Model of Information Warfare

Date and time:2020.07.22(Wed.)19:30-21:00
Lecturer:LAI Ho Wang
Host:WANG Po-Wei

As there has been hearsay among the democracies that the novel coronavirus either came from the Chinese military or “escaped” from its laboratory, or that the Chinese Communist Party attempts to alleviate the Malthusian crisis by advocating the view of “decreasing the population is a necessary evil,” the attitude that “SARS was a plan of genocide, a biological warfare waged by the United States against China” has prevailed in China. Economist Robert Shiller sought to add “narrative” as a new critical variable in his economic and financial analysis. Where there is an incident, there is a narrative that escalates the incident towards an unexpected direction or even the reverse one. Sometimes, a narrative may turn an incident into a communication event. The narrative thus becomes the incident per se. With the resolved uncertainty of the incident, the narrative subsides gradually. The whole process is reminiscent of the transmission of infectious diseases. The momentum for the transmission depends on the participation of superspreaders. In the era of social media, however, states’ propaganda apparatus serves as the top superspreader, followed by important media institutions and opinion leaders whose influence is based on the number of participants and their level of activity. The nature of a given incident determines the “virulence” of its transmission.

About the Lecturer

LAI Ho Wang—the spokesperson for the Air Autogenous Power Manifesto—is chiefly interested in technology, arts, new media, cultural phenomena and cryptozoology.

About the Host

WANG Po-Wei is an assistant Researcher in Taipei Fine Arts Museum. His research interests include Media Theory, History of Contemporary Art, Sociology of Culture and Art, and Art/Science/Technology (AST). Translated Niklas Luhmann´s Liebe als Passion: Zur Codierung von Intimität into Chinese together with Chin-Hui Chang.


Viruses, Disease Prevention and Bio-politics: In Search of a New Critical Thinking

Date and time:2020.07.24(Fri.)19:30-21:00
Lecturer:Cory Han-Yu HUANG
Host:SING Song-Yong

The worldwide spread of Wuhan pneumonia (also known as the novel coronavirus pneumonia) has forced national governments around the world to adopt countermeasures such as immigration control, lockdown, quarantine, bans on large events, school closure, and online teaching. Meanwhile, Western leftist philosophers like Slavoj Žižek, Giorgio Agamben, and Jean-Luc Nancy also give their words of warning that these countermeasures against the pandemic on a global scale may grant national governments unchecked power to declare the state of emergency, restrict or even trample basic human rights, and fortify the border control, apart from the sharpening of the distinction between races, social classes, and so forth. In this lecture, the lecturer will examine these leftist philosophers’ criticisms and analyze the nature of bio-politics from the aspects of viruses and disease prevention. By reference to Taiwan’s experience, the lecturer will also explore how these emergency measures “normalize the state of exception” and how to strike a balance among emergency orders, basic human rights, and democracy. Finally, the lecturer will discuss the way in which we can face up to and rethink the global situation, medical system, social interaction and knowledge dissemination in the post-Wuhan pneumonia era.

About the Lecturer

Cory Han-Yu HUANG is a professor in the Department of English at the National Taiwan Normal University. He also serves as a managing supervisor of the Taiwan Humanities Society and a council member of the Philosophical Education Development Organization. He was the director general of the Taiwan Humanities Society and the editor in chief of Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies. His research interests cover demonic possession, post-human, bio-politics, psychoanalysis and horror literature. His recent publications include Cross-Border Thinking (Taipei: Homeward Publishing, August 2017), and Demonic Possession, Illness, and the Undead (Taipei: Bookman Books, December 2017). Currently he is undertaking a research project on dark ecology and black metal.

About the Host

SING Song-Yong earned his doctorate in cinematography from the Institute of Performing Arts, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défence, France. He teaches as a professor in the Graduate Institute of Trans-disciplinary Arts, Taipei National University of the Arts, and serves as the acting director of the Graduate Institute of Animation and Film Art at the same university. He was the editor in chief and convener of Art Critique of Taiwan and a nominator for the Taishin Arts Award. His curatorial works include “Synchronic Constellation – Le Moulin Poetry Society and Its Time: A Cross-Boundary Exhibition,” “(Not) Just a Historical Document: Hong Kong-Taiwan Video Art 1980-1990s,” “REWIND_ Video Art in Taiwan 1983-1999,” and “The Eclipse of Documentary: The Transdisciplinary Intersection of Images” at the 8th Taiwan International Documentary Festival. His research interests cover the aesthetics of contemporary Chinese cinema, contemporary art and cinema, as well as the theories and aesthetics of contemporary French films. His recent publication was Projecting Tsai Ming-Liang: Towards Transart Cinema (2014).