Researchers of three institutes of the Academia Sinica — the nation’s highest academic body — have in the past few days been collecting the art and documents displayed in the Legislative Yuan’s main chamber by student activists, to be preserved as historical data.
The protesters are scheduled to vacate the chamber at 6pm today.
In the three weeks since the students stormed into and occupied the premises on March 18, many handmade banners, posters, campaign flyers and different forms of artwork have been created by the protesters. Documents, such as written statements, notes and messages of encouragement, have also been seen scattered throughout the chamber.
Taiwan History and the Academia Sinica’s institutes of Sociology, History and Philosophy released a joint statement yesterday, saying that the Sunflower movement against the government’s handling of the cross-strait service trade pact is of significant importance to Taiwan’s socio-political development, so they hope to gather related artifacts for preservation.
“These artifacts are the people’s creations and also public goods that symbolize a society that is striving for democracy,” the statement said. “The artifacts will be preserved as a citizens’ modern collective experience and future historical memory.”
Starting on Tuesday, a number of researchers have entered the legislative chamber to record and make an inventory of the artifacts. Advanced technology such as 3D laser scanning was also applied.
A researcher said that 3D laser scans can keep accurate records of the locations of the pile of chairs that blocked the chamber’s doors, the artworks, the banners and the students. The historical scene can later be reconstructed in 3D images, which can also be used for future discussions on the use of space in the chamber.
“The artifacts can become historical material documenting Taiwan’s democratic movement and they have historical value worth preserving,” Academia Sinica secretary-general Wu Jen-Leih (吳金洌) said yesterday morning.
He added that as the time before the protesters vacate the room is limited, they hope to save the artifacts as soon as possible, for fear they end up in rubbish bins.
The joint statement also said the two bodies would get approval from the protesters to hold exhibitions to display the artifacts, so that the artifacts can continue to play a role in influencing Taiwanese society.
Meanwhile, in related developments, several netizens have initiated a petition in hopes that the government would preserve a spray-painted slogan, “When dictatorship is a fact, revolution becomes a right,” by Shih Mi-na (施蜜娜) — daughter of former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Shih Ming-te (施明德) — on a side wall of the Legislative Yuan as a cultural asset.
So far, more than 1,000 people gave signed the petition, including the administration of three NGOs.
“It must be kept as proof of democracy and also as a reminder,” a netizen named Wang Shin-lan (王昕嵐) said.
Another netizen, Kung I-chao, said: “The ruling government [no matter what political party] should reflect on its own behavior, to see if it is responding to public will at all times.”