But at the center of the scheme they still placed a gallery, Eslite. The Taipei landmark is a hybrid in its own right, combining a 24-hour book store with coffee shops, a gallery and three floors of shopping.
"The idea was to create circulation between non-gallery spaces and a gallery. That way the art moves out into the surrounding area, and also comes back. At each of the bars or lounges you can see the works, and if you're interested you can pick up a catalogue that has a map of the entire show. Or if you want to see everything concentrated in one space, you can come to the [Eslite] gallery and see it all here," he said.
Random-ize greets you with six large flat screen monitors, eight smaller monitors, a double projection installation and a second installation that consists of one small screen and two small screens mounted inside a sculpture, all in the same room!
The exhibition's name puns on "random eyes." Chen explains, "We have so many pieces, that we find the best way is to give the audience its own choice. Maybe they fancy watching silent [work], or maybe they put the headphones on and watch with sound, which ever one you prefer, you watch it."
Putting works in bars is also strangely consistent with this you-be-the-judge democratic ideal. The exhibition's Chinese name, Yieh-shih (夜視) or Light scenes, puns on night market (夜市). Again, Chen explains, "In Taipei, the funny thing is that when you go into small streets, you find things that are more fun than what's in the museums."
The artworks in bars, then, are there to be discovered. If you're interested. And if you become interested enough, you go to Eslite, where it would take at least 11 hours to watch everything.
Hiraki Sawa's Dwelling can be recommended, a black and white sequence of miniature airplane fleets surreally and matter-of-factly flying routes through some typical home interior. As can the films of Taiwanese artist Tsui Kuang-yu, who rams his head into cars, horses, cows and walls, and continually changes prefab suits of clothes, and has the back of his head pelted with TV sets, buckets, bottles and other household objects. And Don Bury (a staff video technician at Goldsmiths) has remixed Top Gun and Saturday Night Fever into dryly amusing homoerotic iconoclasms.
In a sense, this exhibition is an experiment in democracy. Within the limits of the 93 pieces shown and the different contexts they're seen in, Random-ize can be what any individual viewer makes of it. So far, not even the YBAs have offered us that.
Random-ize is on display through June 1, though organizers hope to extend it through June 15 at the gallery's request. Works can be seen at the Eslite Gallery, located at B2, No. 245, Sec. 1, Tunhwa S. Rd. (