Coast Mining at the Taipei Biennial 2014

Taipei Biennial 2014: Art in the Age of the Anthropocene

Curated by Nicolas Bourriaud, the Taipei Biennial 2014 was held at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum 臺北市立美術館 in Zhōngshān District 中山區 from September into the early part of the new year. The theme is “art in the age of the anthropocene”, the current geophysical epoch defined by humankind’s enormous impact on the natural world. From the curator’s notes: this exhibition is organized around the cohabitation of human consciousness with swarming animals, data processing, the rapid growth of plants and the slow movements of matter. I am no serious critic but I certainly appreciate thought-provoking art when I see it. Since I haven’t any expertise in this area I’m mostly going to let the photos speak for themselves, however incomprehensible that might be. Much like the Xu Bing retrospective it was an inspiring experience so I’d like to have a record of it here on my blog.

Hammock and tea at the Taipei Biennial 2014
Formosa Decelerator, OPAVIVARÁ!.
Trying to make sense of it all
Female Natives and Medicine Men, Haegue Yang.
Female Natives and Medicine Men I
Female Natives and Medicine Men II
Coast Mining sample
Coast Mining at the Taipei Biennial 2014
Coast Mining, Chuan-Lun Wu.
Talking heads
Neanderthal Container, Nathaniel Mellors.
Neaderthal Container video capture I
Neaderthal Container video capture II
Trying to figure it all out
The Blind Leading The Blind, Peter Buggenhout.
3D printing a replica of a sunken ship
3D printing a replica of a sunken ship.
An original to be copied
The Deluge (Noah’s Ark), Hung-Chih Peng.
Why depend on space and time?
Why Depend on Space and Time, Shezad Dawood.
Let us transmit
Let us transmit; one of many ersatz tomes here.
Bizarre back room at the Taipei Biennial 2014
The Floating Chain Fake Wall, Jonah Freeman & Justin Lowe.
Ideally all the conversations
Ideally all the conversations…
Aesop’s Bat
Aesop’s Bat, ChunTeng Chu.
Scattered light
Reanimation II, Joan Jonas.
Bubble boy
Le Pain Symbiotique, Anicka Yi.
Turing test
A.T., Henrik Olesen.
Golden ghost: reality called, so I woke up
Golden Ghost (Reality Called, So I Woke Up), Surasi Kusolwong.

Pictured here is part of Golden Ghost (Reality Called, So I Woke Up), an installation by Surasi Kusolwong. A description of the work:

12 gold necklaces with symbol made and designed by the artist are hidden in industrial thread waste of 5 tons in the exhibition space. Neon work, mirror, photographs and works on paper.

By the time I visited all of the gold necklaces had been found—but the work continued to be exceedingly popular among Taiwanese youth. People were just hanging out, chatting and laughing, burying each other in yarn, and—of course—taking many, many photos of themselves.

Lazing around in the yarn installation at the Taipei Biennial 20
Lazing around in the yarn installation at the Taipei Biennial.
Lost in a world of yarn
Lost in a world of yarn.
Yarn world
Deep into the yarniverse.
Circuit boards for starships
Home, Roberto Cabot.

If you find your curiosity piqued I suggest perusing the official guide book (PDF), this interview, or this review (with more photos) to get a sense of what it’s all about. The works range from the mundane to the inscrutable—and, this being modern art, there are plenty of outlandishly bizarre things I simply didn’t understand—but for the most part I found that puzzling out what was going on in each section was worth the effort. For a mere 30 NT (about USD$1) it feels almost criminal to experience such a wealth of creative talent.