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Tiɑngong Kɑiwu: Modern Life and the History of Technology

Organized by TheCube Project Space, the Praxis School is a lecture series consisting of 9 sessions launched in collaboration with the Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab’s Academy Platform from September 2018 to February 2019. The theme this year, Tiɑngong Kɑiwu (The Exploitation of the Works of Nature): Modern Life and the History of Technology, explores the relations between humanity and objects as well as their history, and how we should respond to the evolving history of technology. Lecturers and discussants include Huang Sun-Quan, Li Shang-Jen, Liu Yan, Hsieh Ying-Chun, Manray Hsu, and Hung Kuang-Chi.

Outline of the Lecture Series

2018/9/15 Sat. 2-5pm

❚ Innovation vs. Utilization: How should we treat technology?

Speaker: Li Shang-Jen

Venue: C-LAB (No.177, Sec. 1, Jianguo S. Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei City)

How many technologies we utilize today are recent innovations, and how many of them are long-standing yet subjected to continual improvement? Do the burning issues ranging from energy and transportation to environmental pollution and food supply remain unresolvable until new technologies are available? Or, is the discourse of placing hope on new technologies little more than a convenient excuse to divert public attention from the adoption of effective solutions that will act against powerful vested interests? This lecture will not only broaden the audience’s horizons, but also offer alternative views about technology.

2018/10/27 Sat. 2-5pm

❚ The Architectural Practice of Hsieh Ying-Chun I

Construction Techniques and Cultural Perpetuation: Two Observation Points in Southeastern and Southwestern China

Speaker: Liu Yan / Discussant: Hsieh Ying-Chun

Venue: C-LAB (No.177, Sec. 1, Jianguo S. Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei City)

As the modern society’s socio-economic model evolves every day, the artisan traditions, whether in terms of production or perpetuation, have undergone radical transformation, which will decisively shape new practices of cultural perpetuation in vernacular architecture. This lecture will introduce two cases that are worlds apart in their forms. The first is the wooden arch bridges unique to the Min-Zhe area of China. The second is the houses in the Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Si-Chuan Province, China. Taking a glimpse of the tension between modernization and construction traditions in rural China through Hsieh’s case projects, this lecture will address how architectural scholars’ academic perspectives and architects’ practical intervention can better serve the rural construction and cultural perpetuation.

2018/10/28 Sun.


❚ The Architectural Practice of Hsieh Ying-Chun II

The Sociality of Construction Works

Speakers: Huang Sun-Quan, Hsieh Ying-Chun


❚ The Architectural Practice of Hsieh Ying-Chun III

The Roundtable Discussion

Speakers: Huang Sun-Quan, Hsieh Ying-Chun, Liu Yan, Manray Hsu

Venue: C-LAB (No.177, Sec. 1, Jianguo S. Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei City)

Curated by Huang Sun-Quan, the exhibition Action without Action: Hsieh Ying-Chun’s Architectural Practices will be on view at the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts in September 2018. The first session of this forum on the opening day will focus on the dialogue between the curator’s thoughts provoked by field studies and the architect’s philosophy of architecture, thereby inviting reflections on the sociality of construction works. A building is more than a cement cube of a mere formality, nor is environmental ethics eternally the externality of the Anthropocene. The key lies in how we comprehend the socially constructed architecture.

Architectural archeologist Liu Yan and independent curator Manray Hsu will attend the second session of this forum to exchange views on Hsieh’s philosophy of architecture with the other discussants from multiple perspectives.

2018/11/24 Sat. 2-5pm

❚ The Anthropocene and Contemporary Art I: The Anthropocene and Its Discontent

Speaker: Manray Hsu/ Disccusant: Hung Kuang-Chi

Venue: C-LAB (No.177, Sec. 1, Jianguo S. Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei City)

Starting with the definition of anthropocene and the issues related to epistemology, ontology, theories of politics sparked by this concept, including posthumanism, eco-intelligence, and ontological shifts. The lecture reviews how the art community has redefined the relations between ecology and art by looking at exhibitions that took place in Taiwan and internationally in recent years, with further discussions on speculations on anthropocene, examining its colonial discourse, critiques on universal value, and the proposed cosmo-politics.

2018/12/8 Sat. 2-5pm

❚ The Anthropocene and Contemporary Art II: Herbal Urbanism

Speaker: Manray Hsu/ Disccusant: Lee Yu-Lin

Venue: C-LAB (No.177, Sec. 1, Jianguo S. Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei City)

Posthumanism sees cities as complex living forms, which leads to the forming of metabolic eco-systems with the relations between contemporary cities and nature explored, especially focusing on global urbanism, fundamental infrastructure, urban bricolage, and cyborgs. Herbal urbanism is an art project based on cosmo-politics, and it references ontological and methodological guides found in the system of Chinese herbal medicine, with exhibitions, seminars, surveys, and performances implemented.

2018/12/22 Sat. 2-5pm

❚ The Anthropocene and Contemporary Art III: The Aesthetics of Scale

Speaker: Manray Hsu/ Disccusant: Guo Jau-Lan

Venue: C-LAB (No.177, Sec. 1, Jianguo S. Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei City)

Both modern and contemporary arts have paid sustained attention to environmental and ecological issues for more than half a century. As the environmental crisis worsens with the acceleration of global warming, together with the concept of “Anthropocene” popularized among researchers of natural sciences, humanities and social sciences in the recent two decades, the art community has also reviewed the complex relations between ecology and art. In this lecture, Manray Hsu will discuss different aspects of the Anthropocene and propose his theoretical and artistic ideas as a response to “herbal urbanism” and “the aesthetics of scale.”

2019/1/26 Sat. 2-5pm

❚ The Border of Science, and Science on the Border

Speaker: Hung Kuang-Chi

Venue: C-LAB (No.177, Sec. 1, Jianguo S. Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei City)

Systematically reviewing the concept of border in Science and Technology Studies, the lecturer attempts to establish the argument that, in face of the nearly borderless circulation of ideas and goods nowadays, we require not only guidelines for transdisciplinary cooperation, but also the “border studies” based on detailed history and ethnography.

2019/2/23 Sat. 2-5pm

❚ Traveling Science, and Science on a Journey

Speaker: Hung Kuang-Chi

Venue: C-LAB (No.177, Sec. 1, Jianguo S. Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei City)

Evidenced by the occidental research trends over the past decade, the Studies in History of Science took a decisive turn that researchers no longer confine their views to scientific knowledge production sites such as laboratories, museums and fields, but direct their focus towards addressing the question as to how scientific knowledge “travels.” This lecture will expound how recent researchers of Science and Technology Studies deal with the “travel” of science and orientate their research toward “global history of science” or “beyond post-colonialism and post-positivism.”