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Exhibition, Performance& Screening

The Alternative Guide of Time

Venue: Art Space II

This research exhibition project is an investigation as well as a re-imagination on the context of the Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab (C-LAB) via object history, oral history, images, cartographies, texts, and acoustic scenes. Serving as a psycho-geographical exploration into a 7-hectare area in the east Taipei, the exhibition, titled “The Alternative Guide of Time”, superimposes historical constellations of space and time that span from the reality to fiction, guiding the audience to revisit the context from the Industrial Research Institute of the Taiwanese Governor-General’s Office during the Japanese rule to the Air Force Command Headquarters period with interdisciplinary cultural production.

This vast base situated amidst the vehicle flows of Jianguo South Road and Ren’ai Road used to be Saiwaichō 1-chōme during the Japanese colonial rule. Due to the reformation of the Industry Department at the Central Research Institute in 1939, the Industrial Research Institute of the Taiwanese Governor General’s Office was thus established here. Two years later, the Pacific War broke out, and the site hence became the vital institute that bridged science and warfare. After the retrocession of Taiwan to the nationalist government, it became the Industrial Research Institute of Taiwan Province for a short period before it was converted to the ROC Air Force Command Headquarters for a half century. As the east area of Taipei has progressed into a highly commercialized neighborhood, the site remains a mystical realm that was misplaced in the urban area.

“The Alternative Guide of Time” is not only a reorganization and reproduction in terms of psychogeography, but also looks into the local context of “kong-zong” (Air Force HQ) referred by the Taipei residents. With the video art work Industrial Research Institute of Taiwan Governor-General’s Office by Hsu Chia-Wei as the point of departure, the exhibition branches out a historical narrative concerning the industry and science of the then colonial regime. Meanwhile, the researcher Hsiao I-Ling was commissioned to launch a field research project to trace back the fragments of history across different time. Through the writing on object history, interviews, or even the re-enactment of history, the audience shall visit various beacons of memory such as the old maps and the raw experimental materials from the Industrial Research Institute in the Japanese colonial period to the barber shop, the clock shop and the karaoke restaurant at the 601 Welfare Commissary back in the days of post-war Air Force Command Headquarters.

The unreleased photographs of the Air Force HQ shot by Yao Jui-Chung and Peng Yi-Hang, which was commissioned by the National Culture and Arts Foundation (NCAF) in 2016 capture the melancholic scenes of the transition period from the old Air Force HQ to the C-LAB. What echoes with these images are numbers of undergoing projects at the C-LAB. These include the exploration of the vein of the space by the group Collective Negative Space Village and the architect Su Hung, the visionary mapping workshop of the Air Force HQ compound by Lin Yu-Ting, and the essays writing of the life of enlistment by Liao Wei-Yu.