Since 2018, the C-LAB has not only run the space of the former Air Force Command Headquarters with cultural projects in unprecedented forms, but also endeavored to transform this site into an artistic incubator that treats innovative cultural experimentation as its core values. Over the past three years, the C-LAB launched several “experimental architecture” projects that ventured into the essence of this site from different contextual perspectives. For example, “Collective Negative Space Village” concentrated on the relational evolution of this site, whilst “The Brick-O” applied the concept of sustainable city to practical situations. Unfolding from Taipei City in which the C-LAB is located, “Project: The Folly” follows the previous reflection on the change of this site, insofar as to investigate its connotations and implications by reference to its inherent ambiguity.
Inspired by the experimental and conceptual qualities of “folly,” “Project: The Folly” proposes a new viewing angle to grasp our present living conditions and urban events. Reviewing the past of this historic site, we can easily notice that the meaning and function of its space continue to vary in different periods. It is such fluctuation that renders this site one of a kind when people ask the question as to “what kind of ‘place’ the C-LAB is” and meanwhile try to offer an answer.
Another key issue to be tackled in “Project: The Folly” is how to contemplate, comprehend, and define places and place-building, particularly when the Art Space V (i.e., the U.S. Aid Building) at the C-LAB serves as the exhibition venue. Since the C-LAB, a cultural institution, took over this former military space, this building has been detached from its original function, design, and connotation, becoming an empty existence in a state of instability and ambiguity. Accordingly, we transform the entire exhibition venue into a provisional folly that beckons, inviting the artists to explore the human-space relation and the meaning of this place through different approaches.
First of all, “Project: The Folly” experiments with a reversed viewing angle on the exhibition venue (i.e., the U.S. Aid Building) in the spatial layout of the C-LAB. Given that the location and space of the exhibition venue are radically different from those of ordinary art museums, some of the exhibits in this project set great store by meaningful dialogues with the site. This site harbors not only the heterogeneity of the exhibition space per se, but also the contextual evolution of this location’s history, architecture, transportation, and economy. Among all the participating artists, CHEN Wan-Jen, TAI Han-Hong, CHIU Chen-Hung, and LIAO Chien-Chung utilize the exhibition venue’s environment and the in-situ conditions to develop new perspectives that allow us to rediscover the U.S. Aid Building and the C-LAB.
Secondly, by virtue of all the exhibits, this project attempts to explore the meaning of “place,” especially to reacquaint us with the existing urban system and the rich texture of related spaces. With their respective works equally fascinating in result though different in approach, WU Tsan-Cheng, LING Tien, CHEN Shiau-Peng, TSONG Pu, HSIAO Yu-Chih, and Thai artist Arnont NONOYAO probe into the relations between individuals and the city as well as the texture of public spaces. They represent the traces of dwelling, and address the question as to how architectural plans/structures can act as the catalysts for revitalizing interpersonal relations of a group.
To sum up, “Project: The Folly” gains fresh perspectives on our contemporary life through the intervention of architectural/artistic projects, relational reversal, and non-consecutive change in viewpoint. In addition to exploring the nature of spaces, this project invokes the metaphor of structures to alter the human-space relation, with the aim of blazing a trail beyond benefit-oriented utilitarianism and urban-planning concepts. Can we comprehend the real-world situation here and now from a brand new perspective if we forsake pragmatism for artistic or creative intervention in the post-pandemic era?
Artists｜Arnont NONGYAO, WU Tsan-Cheng, LING Tien, CHIU Chen-Hung, TSONG Pu, CHEN Shiau-Peng, CHEN Wan-Jen, LIAO Chien-Chung, HSIAO Yu-Chih, TAI Han-Hong
Project: The Folly
Venue｜Art Space V, Banyan Tree Square
Opening Hours｜11:00-18:00, Tuesday – Sunday
※ During Dragon Boat Festival, (June 12- June 14), the exhibition will remain open to the public and closed on June 15.