Fri, Mar 09, 2018 - Page 14 News List

Expressions of a renewed river

Held to celebrate the completion of the Green River restoration project in Taichung, this site-specific show featuring 12 projects is an easily accessible, multisensory feast

By Sheryl Cheung  /  Contributing reporter

An installation piece by Liao Hao-jhe at The Renewal.

photo courtesy of Lyu Chuan

The Renewal (川游不息) is a visually polished, easily accessible art exhibition that celebrates the completion of Taichung’s 14-month river rehabilitation project. Situated just a couple blocks from the newly restored waterway Green River (綠川), the show features a new brand image for the canal and 12 specially commissioned art projects that creatively interpret Green River through smell, sound, taste, sight, and touch.

The art exhibition is housed in Taichung Shiyakusho (臺中市役所), a century-old Japanese colonial building with beautifully preserved baroque decor and aged wooden floors. At the entrance, a warm team of docents readily welcomes the steady flow of visitors while also reminding them of a limited viewing time. It is for safety precautions, as the main staircase, well preserved in its original form, only sustains a limited amount of traffic flow.

“We wanted to come up with a soft approach to re-introduce Green River to the city,” says show curator Hsu Che-yu (許哲瑜), whom together with Kuo Chung-yuan (郭中元), responded to the Taichung Water Resource Bureau’s (臺中市政府水利局) request for a river promotion proposal in 2017.

The rehabilitation of Green River is one of the city’s efforts to improve and revitalize the old city center. The canal runs through the once busy district that grew quiet in the ‘80s when businesses moved out to other new commercial areas. During the same period, Green River also began to decay into an odorous ditch as a result of the city’s industrial developments. Through several methods of water purification, including filtering, draining and water interception, the restored waterway today is a pleasant strolling area with clear stream, blossoming trees and a new fence design that features the new Green River logo.


What: The Renewal (川游不息)

When: Today from 11:30am to 7pm, tomorrow and Sunday from 11am to 7pm

Where: Taichung Shiyakusho (臺中市役所藝術中心), 97, Mincyuan Rd, Taichung City (台中市民權路97號)

Admission: Free

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The 12 artists featured in the exhibition take direct inspiration from the river. A soundtrack by electronic musicians Lim Giong (林強), Allo Will and Barkher plays on repeat throughout the show like a calm flow of energy that sets up a poetic tone to the overall exhibition. The music is composed with electronic instruments and field recordings from the river’s surroundings. In the sound gallery room, the artists have made their album available for viewers who bring their own blank cassette tapes for a live dubbing session using a stereo machine. This generous gesture sets music aficionados venturing into nearby streets and alleys on a quest to purchase blank cassette tapes for their own copy. During this venture they inevitably discover parts of the old city district along the way.

This sense of active viewer engagement is also solicited in other points in the exhibition. The viewing of Liao Hao-jhe’s (廖浩哲) towering plant assemblage, for example, is specially limited to five minutes per viewer due to its location in a relatively fragile attic area. Liao had built his installation using various local plant species such as different types of fern, moss, and herbal ingredients typically found in the herbal tea sold in Taichung’s old city district. These elements are infused with the odors of moist earth and herbal oil extracts that take up a strong presence in the room. In the short amount of time, viewers are invited to focus on the delicate experience of smell.

By contrast, Slow Chen (陳小曼) and Hao Fu’s (皓福) experimental cuisine is presented as a conceptual project that viewers can only taste by imagination. A photo menu of six beautifully plated dishes hangs above a decorative arrangement of canned fish, instant noodle packs, and other food products from the old district’s First Market. According to the artist statement, these newly created dishes are inspired by five of the six officially designated attraction spots of Green River.

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