EVENT:  A Gaze on the Contemporary

TIME:  19pm – 21pm, Sat., May 7th.

PLACE:  Not Just Library – 2F, No.133, Guangfu South Road, Xinyi District, Taipei CityF (in Songshan Cultural and Creative Park )


General – NT$50 (Pay on the spot, including one drink). Not Just Library member – free (Admission by membership card, including one drink)
※ tickets are limited.

In part inspired by Georgio Agamben’s writings, A Gaze on the Contemporary looks at universal notions of time and space from the subjective viewpoints of 6 artists working with moving image.

If “contemporary” is a tense, a definition or an attitude then “contemporariness” or “contemporaneity” is not merely art for art’s sake but also the re-thinking of art within the spheres of politics, history, and culture. In this context, video art traces a conceptual frame from outside the systemic institutions by casting a penetrating beam of darkness out from the artists’ own time. To have a gaze on the contemporary in this sense is “to return to a present where we have never been.”

Between the readable and the visual, the flash frames of moving image are an ambiguous continuum running through the arrangement of pictures, the cinematic structure and their affect. Travelling among the scenes casts spatio-temporal ripples over these visual fragments. An audio-visual weight contorts from its gravitational waves raises a cosmic hum, the twittering of an aesthetic language illuminating the possibility of alternative forms of narration. The works depict various aesthetic layers in order to explore the borders of contemporary visual practice and reveal the reflexive thinking of artists’ micro-sophistries. From the perspective of contemporary video art, the programme portrays an artistic landscape built from the artists’ inner thoughts to create contextual narratives of time and space.

To have a gaze on the contemporary in this sense is ‘to return to a present where we have never been.’

The Story of Hoping Island

Hsu Chia Wei / 2008 / 12’40”

Artist Hsu Chia Wei’s work The Story of Hoping Island was shot in a shipyard on Hoping Island in Keelung, which has 88 years of history. During the Japanese occupation of Taiwan, it was the Japanese government’s southernmost shipyard. After the retrocession of Taiwan, the shipyard played a key role in Taiwan’s economic takeoff. This shipyard represents a highly compressed, symbolic timeframe, from WWII to now. The shipyard reflects how the locals identify themselves based on their specific, local histories, and at the same time, how the national government encodes and directs history. To support this history, complicated traditions and myths are continually developed and developing. So Hsu, Chia-Wei shot this shipyard, a real space, and responded to the shipyard’s other historical side: the legend.

HSU Chia Wei

HSU Chia Wei’s creative method adheres to a specific type of “Narrative” — a way of documenting which interferes with the text in reality, by focusing on site-specific and peculiar characteristics, such as memory, imagination, or identification. He has been continuously trying to merge the languages of contemporary art and film to originate his works, in concern of how to step into reality through film creation, fabricating a mythical narrative which lingers between fiction and reality. He maintains a critical attitude toward filming, and through the power of film creation, he strives to move art to locations beyond museums and to developing his political practice. His works have been on display in museums and international film festivals, such as Jeu De Paume, The 39th International Film Festival Rotterdam, The 55th Venice Biennial, 2012 Liverpool Biennial, 2012 Taipei Biennial, 8th Taiwan International Documentary Film Festival, and Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin/ Madrid at the Centre Pompidou Paris, Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin, and Reina Sofia National Museum Madrid.


Chen Szu Han, Vaibhav Raj Shah / 2008 / 12’40”

KAL is a collaborative piece between the artist Chen Szu- Han and Indian artist Vaibhav Raj Shah. The Hindi word “Ka-l” stands for “yesterday” and “tomorrow” at the same time. This double entendre inspired Chen to think about the relationship between languages and life, and allowed the two artists to investigate philosophically the perception of time in Hindi as well as the deep-rooted religious practices in Indian culture. The work explores the concept of time from social anthropological perspective and reflects on questions such as “what is the concept of the past, the present and the future from people of different cultures?” and “how does space sculpture time and how does time shape a society? ”

Chen Szu- Han

Chen Szu-Han was born in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1981. She received her MFA from the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in 2007, and graduated with Bachelor’s Degree from the Department of Advertising at National Cheng-Chi University in 2003. Chen’s concern lies in the contradictions caused by modern living and differences in perspectives from various cultures and social classes. Through observation and re-interpretation, Chen hopes to create works in bringing awareness and attention about social issues, and proposing solutions to life, perhaps cultivating a somewhat poetic attitude toward reality. Chen explores artistic creation as a tool of communication as well as a possibility for building relationships with the audience. Her practice often involves active or inactive participation of the viewer in an unusual situation that the artist has created based on the context of unusual everyday life. The process of sharing values and perspectives matters the most. Video documentation along with photography and text is employed to represent the once constructed scenario. Chen’s video work has been selected for inclusion in the Film Sector at Art Basel Hong Kong in 2016. In 2009, she was an artist-in-residence at the International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York and at the Unitec in Auckland. She joined residency program at Taipei Artists Village and KHOJ International Workshop in 2014 and 2015, respectively. The artist currently lives and works in Taiwan.

The Dreams

Lin Guan Ming / 2012 / 3’55’’, 9’19’’

The Dreamsmade by artist Lin Guan-Ming breaks the linear ways of seeing and stars his father (an actor) as the protagonist. The distance of gaze is made to portrait the image of “father” in his actual situation script. When “father” is no longer a timeliness spokesperson or foil, the unreal character he plays seems to make these moving images appear timeproof failing and redundant. What moving image means to artists always gets exposed under these “failure” and “redundance”. Therefore, by the depiction of “father”, artist frees himself from the “pronoun” position, and pours out “himself” honestly.

Lin Guan-Ming

Born in Taipei Taiwan in 1981, Lin graduated with a M.F.A. from the Graduate Institute of Arts and Technology, Taipei National University of the Arts. Lin has been dedicated to video art and regards video as the imagination and contemplation of “time” observation. Attempting to recollect the possible remaining “memory” of videos from the current age where videos are produced in excess. After his showing at the 2004 Media Cramp, Co4 Taiwan Avant-garde DocumentaⅡ, he has since then exhibited at many local and international exhibitions, including in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Paris, Fukuoka, and U.S.A. In 2008, he presented his solo exhibition Silence Attacks at the Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei, and also received the Taipei Arts Award in the same year. His art is collected by National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts.

Pak Tai Foto

Au Sow Yee / 2015 / 19’14’’

Pak Tai Foto is a two-channel videos installation including light boxes of hand-drawn maps made by artist Au Sow-Yee. The photo studio in the film is located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur during the 1950s. Pak Tai Foto is also near the Merdeka Square (Independent Square), a place where many foreign labours pass by. Pak Tai Foto interviewes foreign labors connected to daily lives in or near their workspace. These foreign labors came from Bangladesh, Myanmar and China. In the interview, they shared their respective reasons, processes and experiences of leaving their home country to work in other parts of the world. In addition, they also tell an ideal place (be it a place of imaginary or reality) and share their favourite songs when they were a child or teenagers.(Pak Tai Foto is supported by the Krishen Jit Astro Fund.)

Au Sow-Yee

Au Sow-Yee was born and grew up in Malaysia. She now lives and work in Taipei. Graduated from Chinese Culture University (Taiwan) majored in theatre arts and attained her M.F.A degree from San Francisco Art Institute (U.S.A). Her works focuses mainly in questioning, exploring as well as expanding the relation between images, image making, history, politics and power, through video installation and other mediums. Sow-Yee’s recent and future works explore the re-imagined history of Malaysia, South-east Asia and its related region aside from perceptions and ideologies bounded by the Cold War. Meanwhile, she also continues her interest in image making mechanism, creating live cinema performance using self-made mechanism and mechanical film projectors. Sow-Yee is also one of the guest writer for online magazine Promethean Fire Review and No Man’s Land.


Wang Ya Hui / 2007 / 7’11”

Visitor is the work by artist Wang Ya-Hui to explore her first living space after she was born, located in an old street. By the poetic cinematography to depict the personal inner memory through the timeline, it revealed the relationship between artist and her living space. The old apartment in the film has a long shape and a river on the back. The world outside changed as time goes by and the inside of house gathered the atmosphere. A small cloud visits the space and goes through it in order to present that time and memory become like a dream in a daylight.

Wang Yahui

Wang Yahui was born in Taipei, work and live in Taipei. She works with video, photograph and installation.Wang Yahui was born in Taipei, Taiwan in 1973. She holds a Masters Degree in Arts and Technology from the Taipei National University of the Arts. She has had solo shows at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts in Taichung (2008), the Cable Gallery in Helsinki, Finland (2010), the National Central University Art Center in Taoyuan, Taiwan (2011), and the Tomio Koyama Gallery in Kyoto, Japan (2012). Her work has been exhibited at the Taipei Biennial (2002 and 2010), the Shanghai Biennale (2006), the Hors Pistes Film Festival at the Centre Pompidou, Paris (2008), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Taipei (2009 and 2012), the Helsinki International Artist Program (2010), the Műcsarnok-Kunsthalle and Ludwig Museum, Budapest, Hungary (2010), and the Herzliya Museum, Israel (2012).

Even They Never Met

Niu Chun Chiang / 2012 / 27’00”

Artist Niu Jun Qiang’s works have often used feminine subject as the target for portrayal. (Femininity does not only refer to gender.) It is a vessel for subject interpellation and substitution.Even They Never Met is a film made during Niu’s residency in Los Angeles. In which the film portraits 8 people who cross lives and the characters have never met each other before. Through a few photo’s given by a stranger, they fabricate the memory of how they unconsciously met. Throughout the experimental practice to explore the distance between the physical and the spiritual in the artistic path, the moving image structures the absolute abstract in its time/space narrative which is unable to be physically measured.

Niu Jun Qiang

Niu Jun Qiang was born in 1983. He graduated with MFA in New Media Art from Taipei National University of the Arts. His artworks mainly focus on the video, experimental film, photography and mixed media installations. Most of Niu’s recent artworks spring from the daily, ordinary life and the experiences involved in such. He has worked with many participants to narrate their past experiences for the creation of a more united, joint experience. Rather than focus on the materialism, he attacks on such a notion and looks at what can be the really persistent, unchanged, in humanity’s lifetime. Niu Jun Qiang’s artworks have been featured in the short film competition at the Rotterdam International Film Festival, held in the Netherlands, Pixilerations Tech Art Exhibition in Rhode Island, USA, the Aguilar International Short Film Festival in Spain, Tours Asian Film Festival in France, ARTchSO Video Festival in Rennes, France, Beijing Summer Digital Entertainment Festival, VAFA International Video Art Festival in Macau, Asian Students and Young Artists Art Festival in Seoul, Korea, It Takes Four Sorts: Cross-Strait Four-region Artistic Exchange Project in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau, Taipei Arts Awards in Taipei.

〈A Gaze on the Contemporary〉is an artist video screening programme curated by Jo Ying Peng from Taipei Contemporary Art Center as a part of the collaboration between 2016 Urban Nomad Film Fest and the Taipei Contemporary Art Center.