In 2016, Taipei joined more than 100 cities around the world in hosting the all-night festival of the arts in the first weekend in October known as Nuit Blanche.
This year, Taipei is one of the few cities that is going ahead with the annual event, the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting preventative measures having forced many of the others to either scrap their overnight festival, move it online or substantially downsize it, as Paris is doing.
Since the first Nuit Blanche was held in Paris in 2002, the aim has been to make contemporary art more accessible to the public and to encourage people to explore different parts of a city. Nuit Blanche Taipei (臺北白晝之夜) has followed those goals, with the result that the event has been staged in a different area of the nation’s capital each year.
Photo courtesy of Liu Yu-hsun
This year it is Nangang District’s (南港) turn, and 21 art installations are in the process of being erected in areas along the eastern stretch of Civic Boulevard, Zhonghsiao E Rd Sec. 7 and near the new Taipei Music Center. Performances by 50 artists or groups have been schedule for between 6pm on Saturday and 6am on Sunday.
While there are still some artworks by international artists or groups, the majority of live performances this year are by Taiwanese, with shows that range from contemporary dance, traditional Taiwanese glove puppetry and musical sing-alongs to stand-up comedy, circus acts and theater, not forgetting film showings and dance raves, plus a 12-hour pop-up market and pop-up Eslite bookstore.
One key difference to the live shows this year is that several are designed to be interactive or immersive. There is the half-hour “dance along” and KTV-inspired I left my heart in San Francisco (半小時帶你看會舞蹈) by Les Petites Choses Production (小事製作). Bring your guitar, To sing together is a guitar lesson by Wu Zu-lin (吳志寧), which takes place at the outdoor plaza of the Taipei Music Centre.
Photo courtesy of Shinergy Puppet Show
Other interactive highlights include freelance dancer/choreographer Lin Yu-ju’s (林祐如) Let’s Dance! (來跳舞吧!), and an hour-long class/performance in acting and stage combat, Nuit Battre Taipei, by the newly formed theater troupe/training group Actorship (演洋娛業), which they say is designed to help participants relieve some up their pent-up emotions.
Random chance will decide who will take part in Coism’s (明日和合製作所) Waiting for Godot (等待果陀 ), a five-minute performance for which people have to draw a numbered ball from a tumbler machine and then wait in line to be called. This piece was first done in 2017 on commission by the Taipei Fine Arts Museum.
There is also a viewing limit of 100 people for Liu Yu-hsun’s (劉侑珣) two-hour The Flowing Sculpture in Time (時 刻 瞬 息).
Photo courtesy of Les Petites Choses Production
Other events to look out for Include Studio M’s (瘋戲樂工作室成) Mostly Broadway Lite concert, theater collective Prototype Paradise’s (當代表演團體) Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (小星星) and and Formosa Circus Art’s (福爾摩沙馬戲團) How Long is Now? (一瞬之光) in Nanxing Park.
Several artists are highlighting the use of new technology and how it is shaping their art. Horse (驫舞劇場) cofounder Su Wei-chia (蘇威嘉) offers an augmented reality version of his multi-years Free Steps (自由步) project — Free Steps AR yours (看見你的自由步) — that participants can view on their smartphones or tablets as they walk around various Nuit Blanche Taipei sites.
For sports fans who might still be mourning the cancelation of Wimbledon this year, the hiphop/movement troupe SchwaiJewu (臺北室外街舞) is offering two showings of its own Grand Slam event, the Taipei Schwai Open Tennis Championship (臺北室外網球公開賽).
Photo courtesy of Filthy Luker
For film buffs, the Giloo Midnight Cinema’s (Giloo 夜夢電影院) A Dream in Tokyo features two movies: Wim Wenders’s 1985 Tokyo-Ga and Kim Longinotto’s 1995 Shinjuku Boys, while Skyline Film is offering night owls a chance to enjoy films under the stars with Silent Disco from 1am to 5am on Sunday.
The Nuit Blanche Taipei Web site (www.nuitblanchetaipei.info) has all the details, in Mandarin and English, including four downloadable guides (www.nuitblanchetaipei.info/guide) that provide listings from West to East or East to West (the Kunyang MRT station to the Nangang MRT Station and vice versa), a Map of Night Wonderland and one for the Golden Melody After Party.
However, if you are feeling lazy or too pandemic-paranoid to want to deal with crowds, the organizers will be broadcasting interviews with a variety of artists and characters from the Bottle Cap Factory throughout the night that can be seen/heard on the Day and Night YouTube platform and the Nuit Blanche Taipei Facebook page.
Photo courtesy of Prototype Paradise
Photo courtesy of Chuang Chih-wei
This year’s Kuandu Arts Festival (關渡藝術節), which opened on Sept. 23 and runs through Nov. 29, is focused on music. Under the theme “Joy of Music,” a nod to the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven, the program features performances by seven symphony orchestras as well as several Taipei National University of the Arts (TNUA, 國立臺北藝術大學) student and faculty shows, in addition to the annual film and animation festivals. However, there is still room for other performing arts, and two productions this weekend and next at the university in the hills of Taipei’s Guandu area (關渡) feature students from the
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