In 1990 Kenbo Liao (廖褚健) saw a magazine article that mentioned his film The Great Ivory Wall (象牙牆), an animated short that won a Golden Harvest (金穗獎) award. He noticed that the second character in his name been changed to zuo (左), which means "left" or "lefty." Thinking there had been a mistake, he went to the Chinese Taipei Film Archive (國家電影資料館) and asked to see the movie. A woman at the counter told him they didn't have it; the reel had been destroyed in a fire. "She said I could see any other movie but that one," Liao told the Taipei Times on Thursday. "Somebody must hate me very much in order to bury me alive!"
Kenbo Liao's Life Works, Visions, Fantasies or Prophecies? - a retrospective that runs through Oct. 27 at Beat Studio - is a reminder of how much things have changed since then. When Liao produced The Great Ivory Wall, which features two cavemen who fight over boundaries and build a massive wall from mastodon tusks, Taiwan was still under martial law, and his cartoon was considered groundbreaking because it mixed politics with art. Another short, Sketch Book (畫冊), was produced on a Commodore Amiga computer and earned him a second Golden Harvest award because it was the only digital submission that year.
Liao, a US-trained moviemaker and designer who also produces still images for postcards and advertisements, believes art can influence politics. One of his favorite prints, inspired by a vision he had after suffering a head injury in a car accident, shows a paper airplane flying over a primordial Taiwanese landscape. Also inspired by that vision is a weirdly prophetic print of a Japanese biplane dropping a bomb on New York's World Trade Center.
PHOTOS: COURTESY OF KENBO LIAO
Visitors to the gallery can purchase reproductions of these and other once-subversive images on framed canvases and T-shirts. Liao will be present at the show's opening, which has been rescheduled for today because of last weekend's typhoon. Two of his films will be screened, and Hoklo poet Chen Chao-cheng (陳昭誠) will read several of his works.
Liao, 56, became less controversial after martial law was lifted. In the early 1990s he filmed Unknown Taiwan, an English-language documentary produced by now-Vice President Anette Lu (呂秀蓮), who used another of his images for presentations in Europe to support Taiwan's UN bid. The animator has yet to succeed in correcting his name in official records of his first Golden Harvest award. "The government is changing a lot of names now," he said. "I think they should change mine first."
PHOTOS: COURTESY OF KENBO LIAO
Where: Beat Studio is located at 4F, 14, Alley 2, Ln 359, Fujin St, Taipei (台北市富錦街359巷2弄14號4樓), north of Minsheng East Road (民生東路) and between Guangfu North Road (光復北路) and Xinzhong Street (新中街)
When: Tonight's opening party runs from 7pm to midnight, and Liao's animated shorts Sketch Book and The Great Ivory Wall will be shown at 8pm and again at 10pm
Tickets: Admission is free. To schedule a viewing after today call (02) 2765-9470
The Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association’s 2021 road safety guidelines pretty much says it all. “Taiwan’s drivers are inclined to prioritize vehicles over pedestrians. Be aware that their driving manners are often not as good. Even when it’s a green light, watch carefully for cars at all times when crossing the crosswalk. Be alert of cars that try to quickly turn right in front of pedestrians. Even if you’re on the sidewalk, you must still watch for scooters.” Japanese student Shun Komatsu referenced these advisories last month in a widely shared post on the News Lens, where he praised everything here besides the
Chris Findler says that the introduction of neural machine translation software has reduced the demand for human translators. “I am pessimistic about the future of traditional translation jobs,” says Findler, a lecturer of translation and interpretation at National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU). Online translators such as DeepL Translator, Yandex and Babylon offer accurate translations in dozens of languages, which means that a human translator may no longer be necessary for some jobs. Machine translation software’s growing influence is irreversible. Translation software can utilize artificial neural networks and large databases in order to accurately predict sequences of words and provide nuanced expressions
Among the Amis people around Chenggong Township (成功) in Taitung County there is a story of a place called Malaulau, ma being a prefix and laulau, meaning “withered.” In fact, that is the old name for Chenggong in Hoklo (more commonly known as Taiwanese): “Malaulau” (麻荖漏) is taken from the Amis word. What does that name refer to? In Amis oral histories, it is the place where a massive wave struck Chenggong, killing many people. The wave was quite localized and Amis communities to the north have no legends of that event. The east coast south of Yilan has good protection
More than two decades after journalist Craig Addison coined the term “Silicon Shield,” the concept remains as relevant as ever, if not even more. The idea that global — including Chinese — reliance on Taiwan’s semiconductor industry has been a major deterrent of war between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait is still frequently espoused today, especially as tensions continue to soar. On Monday, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) chairman Mark Liu (劉德音) declared during in an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria that a Chinese invasion of Taiwan would render the company’s factories “non-operable” and would create “great