Wed, Sep 10, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Professor’s appeal to artist sparks a war of words

AEROTROPOLIS CLASH:Hsu Shih-jung traded barbs with Taoyuan County Commissioner John Wu over the plan, after appealing to Florentijn Hofman for help

By Sean Lin  /  Staff Reporter

National Taiwan University professor Hsu Shih-jung’s (徐世榮) recent appeal to Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman for help to block the Aerotropolis Plan in Taoyuan County has been criticized by Taoyuan County Commissioner John Wu (吳志揚), who said it was “politicizing art,” which the professor dismissed as “rhetoric aimed at deceiving the people.”

Hsu on Sunday made the appeal to Hofman, whose work, Moon Rabbit, is on display at the Taoyuan Land Art Festival, on a site the county government plans to expropriate for its Aerotropolis plan.

Taoyuan County Government Department of Information Director-General Chu Kang-cheng (朱康震) yesterday quoted Wu as responding to Hsu’s plea that the festival is a platform for artists to exhibit their artwork and that Hsu should not politicize art.

In response, Hsu yesterday said that saying art and politics are two separate things is using political rhetoric to deceive the people, and that art and politics often go hand in hand.

“Did the city government not spend public funds to invite the artists to exhibit their works at the festival and if it did, why did it not send invitations to local artists across the nation, but only to Hofman and a select few?” he asked.

Furthermore, he said that land expropriation is not simply a matter of “counting heads,” but one that should also take the needs of the minority into consideration.

“I must emphasize that the interests of the majority cannot be equated with the public interest, defined under Article 23 of the Constitution. Public interests cannot be upheld if expropriations can be carried out based on the decision of the majority, in which scenario it may be more aptly termed ‘atrocity’ of the majority,” he said. “I would like to ask Taoyuan County Government officials to review the No. 709 constitutional interpretation issued by the Council of Grand Justices on April 26 last year, which clearly states that acts in the public interest must follow due administrative procedures and be based upon consensus after negotiations.”

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