Diachronic Apparatuses of Taiwan – Architecture as on-going details within landscape

Collateral Event of the 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia


Organized by the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (NTMoFA) under the Ministry of Culture, Diachronic Apparatuses of Taiwan – Architecture as on-going details within landscape, curated by the Architectural Department of Tunghai University for the 18th Venice Architecture Biennale, will be exhibited at Palazzo delle Prigioni in Venice, Italy, from May 20 to November 26, 2023.

The curation of Diachronic Apparatuses of Taiwan – Architecture as on-going details within landscape echoes the 18th Venice Architecture Biennale’s theme of The Laboratory of the Future. It posits that the next chapter of the 21st century may require us to take a detour, along which we must pay attention to and restore the surroundings that have been forgotten in the wake of progress. The curatorial team revisited Taiwan’s geography to look for signposts pointing to a brighter future in “real life”. Through an inventory of agricultural landscapes across different altitudes and latitudes in Taiwan, this year’s presentation aims to initiate a dialogue between synthetic and real ground, and also to relearn from the countryside.

Located in the subtropics and tropics, Taiwan is home to as many as 260 mountains over 3,000 meters tall. The varying elevations across its topography give rise to a range of climates, from that experienced in the frigid zones to that observed in the tropical zone. In the mere 100 or so kilometers between the coastal frontier and the summit of Jade Mountain, the Taiwanese landscape presents the 14 climate zones that span 10,000 kilometers of the earth. In Diachronic Apparatuses of Taiwan – Architecture as on-going details within landscape, the curatorial team examines Taiwan’s agricultural landscapes at different altitudes through a “cross-sectional” perspective to discover the “modified” aspects to them, thereby unearthing clues that may point to new possibilities for the future development of Taiwanese architecture.

Palazzo delle Prigioni, where the Taiwan Collateral Event will be located, is a unique historic structure and former prison. This year, visitors will be greeted by a big table upon entering the exhibition space. Measuring approximately 15 meters in length, it serves to expand and unify different landscape works while blending into the palazzo’s interior on the horizontal plane. The bottom of the table is wrapped in black netting that is commonly seen in Taiwanese greenhouses. The light seeping through the mesh conjures a sense of suspension, seemingly transforming the table into an aircraft carrier housing agricultural landscapes from all over the island, thus echoing Venice’s architectural characteristic as a city propped up by man-made bridges. At the end of the exhibition space is a window facing the sea which corresponds to the relationship between humanity and nature, the theme constantly communicated by the works on display. A newly arranged soundtrack created with the help of the Department of Music at Tunghai University will also be featured in the exhibition space. This collection of sounds from Taiwan’s environment will open up the viewers’ senses, enabling them to experience the flow of real life on the island.

This year’s team has taken a school-centric curatorial approach and adopted a joint participation model for the first time in the form of a “Teaching Alliance”. In addition to having close ties with the architectural education scene, the main works of the exhibition are jointly completed by the teachers and students from the Architectural Department of Tunghai University. Furthermore, the renowned architecture faculties of National Cheng Kung University, Tamkang University, Feng Chia University and Chung Yuan Christian University have also been invited to participate, enabling more dynamic experimentation and execution. All the exhibits will be showcased alongside each other in this year’s Taiwan Collateral Event.

During the pre-exhibition period (May 18-19), two exchange activities will be held in anticipation of the substantive, in-depth discussions set to take place during the Biennale: one is an international exchange forum which will bring together professional scholars including Takahiro TAJI, Professor of Department of Architecture and Architectural Engineering, Kyoto University, Wei HE, Chair of School of Architecture, Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), Thomas Tsang, Professor of Faculty of Architecture, The University of Hong Kong; while the other is a sharing session hosted by the university team participating in the exhibition. For more information on related activities, please check the official NTMoFA website regularly and follow the Taiwan Collateral Event on the relevant platforms.

Exhibition opening period: 20 May to 26 November 2023 (pre-opening 18, 19 May)
Visiting hours:
May to September from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. with closure on Mondays,
from October to November from 10:00 to 18:00, closed on Mondays,
Venue: Palazzo delle Prigioni, Venice, Italy

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