Taichung Cultural and Creative Industries Park is set to host the 2012 Creative Life Festival on Saturday with a series of exhibitions, musical performances, lectures, workshops and a craft fair which runs through Sept. 16.
Now in its third year, the annual festival is deemed a flagship project of the Bureau of Cultural Heritage of the Ministry of Culture, which funds the event, and aims to promote creativity and aesthetics in everyday life, bureau deputy director-general Shy Gwo-long (施國隆) said.
The festival’s main draw is a large-scale exhibition featuring works by more than 100 designers and artists as well as the work carried out by small studios and companies. Focusing on three themes — life, travel and environment — the exhibition offers visitors the “freedom to choose what they want to see and where they want to go,” festival curator Lin Tsung-jen (林琮然) said, with the exhibition space being divided by “doors that can be opened and closed as desired.”
“There is no fixed passage. It is like a maze that visitors can explore,” he said.
The designs on display also include video works and projections as well as collections of work created by artists and designers.
“There are plenty of design festivals in Taiwan, so how are we different from the others?” the curator asked. “We try to not only show products made by designers, but also to shed light on what artists and designers love. In other words, we want to show the whole creative process, not just the results.”
People attending the festival can view a collection of sofas used in movies made by film director Tsai Ming-liang (蔡明亮) at his coffee house in Yonghe District (永和). Meanwhile, the display of actor Joseph Chang’s (張孝全) surfboards and bicycles are intended to reflect the spirit of a traveler. The work of album cover designer Xiao Qing-yang (蕭青陽) is also being profiled, presenting graphics that illustrate the creative concept behind his award-winning work for the jazz album After 75 Years.
Also on display are guitars used by members of activist folk group Village Armed Youth, to remind visitors how music can be a powerful weapon to combat social injustice, Lin said.
“Creative products and designed products are different,” Lin said. “The latter look pretty, but the former can change the way we see, feel and live life.”
Aside from the designs, more than 35 bands from Taiwan and Japan are to take to the stage every Saturday and Sunday during the festival. This weekend’s lineup includes punk pioneers LTK Commune, Hakka hip-hop troupe Kou Chou Ching (拷秋勤) and indie veterans Tizzy Bac.
Visitors are also to be treated to an array of food, drinks, arts and craftworks at an outdoor market with more than 60 booths. In addition, a series of lectures held by industry professionals will focus on topics relating to design and creativity. All activities are free of charge.
The venue, Taichung’s cultural park, recalls Taipei’s Huashan 1914 Creative Park, because both places were breweries built during the Japanese colonial era. In 2002, the long-deserted Taichung brewery was designated as an historic building and was renovated as a cultural and arts hub in 2005.
However, unlike its Taipei counterpart, the park is run by the Bureau of Cultural Heritage instead of private companies.
“The biggest difference is that our activities and performances are not profit-driven. The rental fee for a space can be as low as NT$500 for 100 ping [330m2] per day,” Shy said.