Pablo Calderon Salazar was given only two weeks to implement his urban renewal project, but time wasn’t a problem.
The Brussels-based Colombian, who is currently in Taiwan as a designer with the Taipei World Design Capital 2016 program, says the short duration of his stay doesn’t affect his project because of the nature of his work, which involves collaborating with local partners and creating a prototype of something that could be used by these partners and others in the future.
He says his main goal is interpreting the interests of the various constituents of the site he’s involved, in using dialogue as a main tool.
Photo: Han Cheung, Taipei times
“I don’t have any idea of ownership as long as someone can find it valuable, even if they use it in a completely different way than I had intended,” Calderon says.
Calderon is part of a series of designer residencies and exchanges sponsored by Taipei’s Department of Cultural Affairs after the city was designated World Design Capital. He is the third designer to come to Taipei to host a public event and lecture this year.
He chose urban regeneration as his project and is testing his research in Taipei’s Wanhua District (萬華), the city’s oldest neighborhood, with a walking tour tomorrow followed by a talk explaining his ideas. Attendees will meet at Bopiliao Old Street (剝皮寮歷史街區) at 2pm.
After visiting neighborhood sites, people and organizations, Calderon noted a common theme of walking tours in Wanhua. The district’s urban decay and seedy reputation has sparked many restoration and social projects, such as the homeless-led Hidden Taiwan tours and the Urbanist Collaborative’s (都市里人) historical and cultural tours.
“They’re doing the same activity, although with different goals,” Calderon says. For example, the Hidden Taipei tours are aimed at reintegrating the homeless into society, while others may focus on art and design, history or culture.
“But they were somehow disconnected,” he adds. “My idea was to find a way to connect them in the same practices they already do. I don’t propose something absolutely new — I don’t believe in novelty. I try to play on what’s already there and find the connections that are already there.”
Calderon says that a tour is an ephemeral experience, and participants don’t leave with a physical souvenir. Hidden Taipei hands out a map with a photo of the tour guide, but Calderon wanted something more personal using elements that are common in Taiwanese culture.
His product is a passport-size journal which participants can have stamped at different locations throughout the tour — a feature available in many Taiwan tourist destinations. Under the stamp is a space where people can jot down notes or draw pictures. Stamps may take the form of a place name, drawing, signature and even a phrase or complete sentence telling part of the site’s story.
On the back of the passport is something that Calderon calls a psycho-geographical map of the tour, which is used to depict one’s personal memories and experiences in the area represented through drawings and writings.
Calderon says even though the passport will still be used for different aims depending on the organization, it connects the two through a common tool that serves to reinforce one’s memory and the historical value of the place.
“I like to say the organizations will be ‘together apart.’ It doesn’t mean they have to work together but they find togetherness in a common practice. That simple understanding is already important for the sense of community.”
Calderon says the critical mass of the tour members could even become a performance, and could be exaggerated with the members waving flags and the guide speaking into a megaphone.
“It creates curiosity,” he says. “There’s a performance aspect not only for the people participating. [It] also has a different level of impact for locals. I want to try out an idea of a procession, a pilgrimage.”
What: Roots through the roots walking tour
Where: Bopiliao Old Street Performance Hall (剝皮寮老街演藝廳), 175, Kangding Rd, Taipei City (台北市康定路175號)
When: Tour on Friday, 2pm to 3:30pm, lecture 4pm to 5:30pm
Admission: Free, but must register at docs.google.com/forms/d/1kPPDv_YabopGOYysnnIGNkU_4juC6KCPcMqXk86i88w/viewform?c=0&w=1
May 23 to May 29 After holding out for seven years, more than 250 Yunlin-based resistance fighters were finally persuaded to surrender in six separate ceremonies on May 25, 1902. The Japanese had subdued most of the Han Taiwanese within six months of their arrival in 1895, but intermittent unrest continued — in Yunlin, the Tieguoshan (鐵國山) guerillas caused the new regime much headache through at least 1901. These surrender ceremonies were common and usually conducted peacefully, but the Japanese had different plans for these troublemakers. Once the event concluded, they gunned down every single attendee with machine guns. Only Chien Shui-shou
The toll rolls on. A gunman walks into a place where humans are peacefully gathering and slaughters them for a militantly-avowed racially-based nationalism, presented in a long manifesto. We are quickly told that the gunman was mentally ill. Obviously — who but a madman could do such a thing? The newspapers dust off one of their “education of a killer” pieces, change the names and run another 1,200 words useful only to those cultivating such killers. The latest of these attacks, on Taiwanese churchgoers in Laguna, California, has spurred much discussion of the long record of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) violence
In one of the most remote parts of Chiayi County, a hamlet shares the exact same name as a well-known center of tea production in New Taipei City. Pinglin (坪林) in Dapu Township (大埔) is around 550m above sea level. The road to it is good enough for any car or motorcycle, and so few people live there that it’s an ideal place for the virus-afraid to go sightseeing. I rode in from Yujing District (玉井) in Tainan, taking Provincial Highway 3 through Nansi (楠西) and above Zengwen Reservoir (曾文水庫). At the entrance to Chiayi Farm (嘉義農場), I halted briefly, curious if
I usually get lost in long documentaries that stitch together numerous storylines, characters and artistic elements without much of a direct plot, but Chen Hui-ling (陳慧齡) does it just right in Letter to A’ma (給阿媽的一封信), which took her 10 years to make. The editing is superb, melding everything into a poignant and layered composition that’s enjoyable and illuminating to watch without having to fully follow every subject and catch every bit of information. In place of a gripping narrative is a powerful emotional buildup that slowly draws the viewer in and hits hard later. It’s not difficult to see why