Creative processes of any kind tend to reflect people’s playful psychological state, and with the intention of exploring the nature of “game-playing”, we have asked artists to show us how to go all out and play with art. Following the wildly popular exhibition, Yao-Chi City, Play Arts Summer Festival 2019, organized by Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab (C-LAB), is a collaborative project by curators Sun Ping and Llunc Lin, and C-LAB’s operating team. Eleven trans-disciplinary artist collectives are invited to exhibit, perform, and also present art workshops, seminars, film screenings, and also a barter market, with many areas inside the C-LAB campus opened up for the festival. Their creative processes are unveiled during the event, and as we say goodbye to summer and say hello to fall, we invite you to come to C-LAB to experience contemporary art.
Co-curated by Sun Ping and Llunc Lin, both have many years of trans-disciplinary art experiences under their belts, Play Arts Summer Festival 2019 includes artists from many different areas of interest, which makes this year’s events more diverse than before. Included in this year’s festival are the following 4 major categories: “Game Body”, “Flowing Scene”, “Spreading Sense”, and “Cooperative Partner.” Including several creative projects extended from the concept of game-playing, a “Live Show” is to be created through public participation, along with fun workshops that cater to people of all ages and genders. Moreover, the “Fun Art Lab” is designed to bring together amateurs and experts, and at the “Big Fun Lecture”, professionals and artists will talk about and share their experiences with everyone. The activities will surpass expectations, with surprising and unexpected ways to take part in art offered.
Continuing with last festival’s opening event that included large-scale public participation and art action, this year’s festival opens with “Dance Like Crazy, Move Your Body!” inspired by director of the opening event Cheng Yu-Ting’s experience of taking part in the annual Baishatun Mazu pilgrimage. She references the way that religious followers could join the pilgrimage at different times and from anywhere, and brings together the Veteran Honor Guards (退儀邦), the Pogak Band (栢樂座) whose music transforms tradition, and artist Chang Wen-Hao who uses dance to advocate the idea, “physical prowess is national power.” By assembling together a crowd, participants will parade through both inside and outside of the C-LAB campus, as they dance spontaneously with inspirations drawn from what they see and encounter along the way. Everyone taking part in the parade will be encouraged to dance and move in impromptu ways and for them to experience experimental art’s various infectious possibilities.
Another highlight of this year’s art festival is its contemporary circus program, “This is a circus, too”, which includes two sub-programs organized by Hsingho Co. Ltd. Contemporary circus has in recent years become more recognized in the art community of Taiwan, with talented young artists returning to Taiwan to develop their own unique circus styles after having worked in various contemporary circuses abroad. The program, “The housework that mortal won’t do in the apartment”, is co-created by artist Chen Hsing-Ho and several theater performers and international circus performers. Audience members are invited to follow the music and roam freely inside the designated space, where they could get up-close views of joggling and other circus acts. Moreover, “Tíng-Koo-Ki Mad Skill Battle”, which uses the format of “battling” that is quite popular amongst the younger generation, is done in a way that is exciting and humorous. The program will take place for the first time at C-LAB inside the grand auditorium that still has remnants of the site’s military past, and the battle will conclude this year’s Play Arts Summer Festival with a bang.
The curatorial concept of Play Arts adheres to C-LAB’s mission with cultural experimentation and its spirit of collaboration and co-creation that spans different areas of interest and disciplines. Combining the concept of game-playing and taking on challenges, the objective is to overturn and seize different possibilities. This spirit is observed in the multi-player “off-line” game experience conducted by the three performing artists, Yang Lin, Huang Huai-Te, and Peng Tzu-Ling, in AFK 666666666. Deconstructing the contextual structure and the logic behind the act of playing video games, they’ve integrated other theatrical elements into this experience, including physical movements, lighting effects, and set design. On the other hand, Chen Yen-Pin, a theater playwright, director, and performer, has internalized this concept of game-playing into four performing artworks, which includes the physical performance, Oddville, that challenges the definition of theater and dance. Presented in an unexpected “guerilla-style” that challenges the audience’s ways of seeing, the mobile performance will take place throughout the C-LAB campus, and members of the audience will also be invited to under go the pressure test of being a theater playwright for a day.
Aside from performances, this year’s Play Arts also includes three exhibitions, with places of relaxation offered to balance out all the intensity and excitement. Stop-motion animator Tsai Yi-Yu and theater performer Tseng Shih-Yi have joined together in creating an interactive fitness engineering show that compares the human body to construction site, with architectural engineering and human figure sculpting juxtaposed. Self-study in Sleep by new media artist Ma Wei-Yuan places two beds, two desks, and two projectors inside the exhibition space, along with a recording device that detects eye movements during sleep. The artwork examines couples and relationships, and secrets that one wishes to keep from their significant other. Combining formats of seminar, workshop, exhibition, and performance, sound artists Chang Yu-Sheng and Lee Shih-Yang, together with several other sound artists, have joined together to break the barriers of music and to open up possibilities for different dialogues. In addition to the aforementioned exhibitions and performances, 6 movies will also be screened throughout the 9-day festival. Additionally, “The Bartering Way of Life”, an event that focuses on environmental conservation, with objects bartered and traded, will be held everyday in the afternoon. There will also be kid-friendly outdoor games and also seminars focusing on public aesthetics organized by the group, Parks and Playgrounds for Children by Children (PfC).
Last year, Play Arts invited everyone to come to C-LAB to let your imagination soar and to exhilarate your senses. This year, Play Arts aim to experiment and play with things that are different. With 11 artist collectives that have perfected the art of playing to one’s fullest ability, we invite you to come to C-LAB and for artistic and playful sparks to run wild. From August 31st to September 8th, come to Play Arts 2019 to play and create, and go nuts with art!