Reimagining the Nanhui Landscape

The "Hidden South" Art Project
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2018 / October

Lynn Su /photos courtesy of Chuang Kung-ju /tr. by Scott Williams


People joke that the Nan­hui region has nine suns, for it is bathed in searing sunshine the whole year round. When the Tai­tung County Government inaugurated its “The Hidden South” arts project in May 2018, it invited 20 artists to sojourn in the county’s four southernmost townships and to place this region on the map by creating works that engage in dialogue with its cultural riches. The county hopes the program will raise the area’s profile and draw visitors to this largely undiscovered part of southern Taiwan.

 


 

The four townships of Tai­mali, Jin­feng, Da­ren, and Dawu, at the southern end of Tai­tung County, are home to a diverse mix of peoples, including indigenous Pai­wan, Amis, and Ru­kai, as well as smaller numbers of the Min­nan and Hakka ethnicities that dominate Taiwan’s population overall. Visitors traversing this rugged landscape experience rapid and dramatic changes of customs and languages, with each new village almost its own nation. These townships are part of the area that has come to be known as “Nan­hui” because it lies along the route of the South Link Highway (nan­hui ­gonglu)—the portion of Provincial Highway 9 that links the road networks of Eastern and Western Taiwan by crossing the southern end of the Central Mountain Range between the counties of Tai­tung and ­Pingtung.

The artists involved in the Taitung County Govern­ment’s “The Hidden South” project hail from the Philippines, Thailand, Italy, France, and Taiwan itself. Half were chosen by the county via an open selection process, while the other half were invited to participate by the project’s administrator, Mt. Project. Arriving in succession in this textured terrain, each spent more than a month engaging in deep and sustained dialogues with residents before starting work on their individual pieces.

The resultant works are truly local products, as tied to the area as the millet grown in the villages themselves.

Twenty works, 20 bridges to Nanhui

Over the last few years, Taiwan has become home to a large number of commercially oriented arts festivals. These typically deliver a short-term economic boost, or, like Japan’s Echigo­-­Tsumari Art Triennial, aim to promote local economic development and tourism through public art.

Eva Lin, who runs Mt. Project and curated The Hidden South, says that the funding for the project came from the community improvement budget of the South Link Highway widening project, and was intended to support cultural development in the area. But she also notes that the region has rarely hosted large-scale events, much less arts programs, and its rural infrastructure isn’t up to the task of handling hordes of visitors.

Lin therefore chose from the outset to make her primary focus non-commercial. She scattered the works across sparsely populated terrain—foothills, coastland, and rural villages—that is not particularly easy for visitors to get to, aiming to encourage visits to out-of-the-way places. The project’s marketing didn’t promote the works either, instead focusing on more than 50 cultural activities with an educational dimension. In other words, the project set out to build bridges connecting lonely Nan­hui to the outside world.

Cyclists generally view the South Link Highway as a must-see stretch of road on a trip around the island. The project’s planners decided that their endeavor would be a success if it were able to build on this interest by getting more people to pause on their journeys.

 

Dissolving dualities

More than 90% of Nanhui’s residents are indigenous Paiwan, so it’s only natural that works influenced by the local environment would be infused with an indigenous flavor. The way that Taiwanese Aborigines incorporate art into their lives, their creativity and inspiration in carrying out their daily activities, and their view of themselves as a part of the natural world rather than distinct from it, inspired many of the project’s artworks.

 

Dream Inspired Millet Wine

 

Huang Po-chih / planned artwork / Mei-Mei Health Salon, Aljungic Village

Dreams share art’s freewheeling nature, but Taiwan’s indigenous people also view dreams as practical and important guides to waking life. Dawan Katjadrepan, chief of the Kacalpan clan, interprets dreams, so artist Huang Po-chih incorporated photos, text, and neon lighting into Dawan Katjadrepan’s Mei-Mei Health Salon to distance it from the real world and evoke her dreamscapes.

 

 My Name? I Have a Lot of Names

 

Wu Sih-chin / mixed-media installation / bank of the Daniao Creek

Many of Nanhui’s indigenous villages relate legends of the “Black Dwarfs,” dark-skinned people of short stature that some anthropologists speculate may have been a Negrito people. While there is no reliable evidence that this people ever existed, the village elders’ vivid descriptions of them have shaped the collective memory of the region’s indigenous peoples. Artist Wu Sih-chin sited his work on the bank of the Daniao Creek near ruins reputed to have belonged to the Negritos. Visitors who have downloaded an app called “My Name? I Have a Lot of Names” can scan a QR code on the artwork to call up an augmented reality overlay that integrates the legendary into the real and brings the Negritos back to life. 

 

 Vector of the South

 

Yu Wen-fu / 3D installation / coast at Xianantian

Woven from natural bamboo strips, the work echoes the ocean winds and waves. But human structures cannot contain natural forces. By imitating Nature, this manmade work highlights Nature’s omnipresence, transcends the constraints of concrete seawalls, reaches out across the ocean, and evokes the dialectical tension between the natural and the manmade.

 

 A complete sensory experience

In addition to the more common silent forms of art like sculpture, installations, graffiti, and photographs, the artists also worked with sound, using recordings, musical performances, and techno-logical tools such as augmented and virtual reality to create complete sensory experiences. Some even developed cultural education classes. Mixing sight, taste, soundscapes and landscapes, they created rich and comprehensive depictions of place.

 

 Moon Rising on the Sea

 

Somanana Rain / performance art / Dawu Coast Park

Shuochang artist Somanana Rain shared folk tales about the relationship between the world’s nations and the sea from in front of Chiu Chen-hung’s installation The Balcony on the wide beach at Dawu. Somanana Rain related the stories using an undulating delivery that harkened back to the oral culture of the local villages. Behind him, the moon slowly rose over the dark ocean, giving a sense of the seemingly isolated Nanhui region connecting to the rest of the world via the sea.

 

 Moving Scenery, Streaming Summer

Lee Shih-yang / performance art / South Link Line, Train 3672

Train 3672, which is soon to be withdrawn from service, passes through Tai­tung’s Nan­hui townships on its journey from Tai­tung City to Fang­liao in Ping­tung, traveling from Tai­mali to Dawu in roughly 40 minutes. The diesel-hauled train is one of the last in Taiwan still to use the 1970s-era blue-and-white railcars, which have no air-conditioning but instead rely on ceiling fans for cooling. The sound of the train’s horn, the smell of the diesel and the whir of the fans make for a highly nostalgic atmosphere. For this work, the train served as a stage for pianist Lee Shih-yang, who adapted an old Paiwan melody into a new piece more suited to modern ears. The work as a whole combined shuochang (folk storytelling with a rhythmic accompaniment) and dance with a trip across the local landscape to create something magical.

 

 Migratory music gathering

 

Cultural education event / Tjuabal Village, beneath the Xinxing Bridge

The event, which replicated aspects of traditional life, was held by the Dazhu Creek in secluded Tjuabal Village. It began with a collectively prepared communal lunch, followed in the afternoon by instruction in traditional crafts, including the making of flower garlands, paperweights, and rattan balls. In the evening the participants, more than half of them village residents, gathered on the riverbank to hear musicians of different ethnicities and nationalities take turns performing. The very intimate gathering concentrated the pleasures of days gone by, offering, as Eva Lin puts it, “a return to childhood for everyone there.”

 

  Giving back to local culture

Taitung’s four Nanhui townships are themselves the focus of the project, so the participating artists had to learn about communities’ needs before crafting their responses. All the works look deeply into local feelings and are a wonderful gift to the region.

 

Rebirth

Luxury Logico / installation / beside Dawu Recreation Area

In 2016, Typhoon Nepartak devastated many of Taitung’s betel leaf plantations. When the Luxury Logico art collective viewed the results of the disaster, they collected some of the broken steel rebar and concrete from the ruins. By using this debris as the raw material for their own artwork, the collective avoided creating additional waste. The openwork mountain shape of their piece suggests a lack, the manmade mountain scene standing in for real mountain scenes that have been lost to development.

 

Vuvu & Vuvu

 

Dexter Fernandez / painting / Dawu Junior High School

Inspired by a shared Austronesian cultural heritage, Eva Lin made a point of inviting Southeast-Asian artists to participate in the project. Filipino artist Dexter Fernandez spent two months in Nan­hui, combining his experiences with the people he met there and the region itself into the graffiti-like painting he created on an exterior wall of the Dawu Junior High School activity center. The work resembles a giant collage. Echoing the Paiwan word vuvu, which means both “grandmother” and “grandchild,” the work has no obvious visual starting or ending point and suggests a profound connectedness between all things.

 

 Ina’s Garden of Memory

Cudjuy Malijugau / exhibition project / Hidden South service center

Taiwan’s indigenous peoples retain a rich culture closely connected to the natural world. Finding inspiration in the floral wreaths of Taiwan’s Paiwan people, artist Cudjuy Malijugau created an indoor garden at the Hidden South project’s service center using native plants, including herbs often used by Taiwan’s Aboriginal peoples. The wreaths are more than mere adornment to the reserved Paiwan, with the choice of plants and the pattern of the weave offering clues to the wearer’s village and clan. The gift of a wreath also represents the giver’s good wishes for the recipient, and serves as a nonverbal expression of love.

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南迴地景再想像

文‧蘇俐穎 圖‧莊坤儒

傳聞有9個太陽的南迴,陽光終年熱辣。今(2018)年5月,由台東縣政府啟動的「南方以南——南迴藝術計畫」, 邀請到20位藝術家走進太麻里、金鋒、達仁、大武,藉饒富文化對話的藝術創作行動,標誌出南迴地景的座標,吸引人前往這片陌生的土地,探索島嶼之南,猶存在的另一南方。

 


狹長的南迴四鄉,混居著排灣、阿美、魯凱等原住民族,以及少數的閩客族群。地貌層層疊疊,民情、風俗、語言劇烈變換,每一個村落,都像具體而微的城國。

來自菲律賓、泰國、義大利、法國,以及台灣的海內外藝術家,一半經由台東縣政府公開徵選,另一半經由執行單位「山冶計畫」主動邀約,相繼踏入這一幅紋理繁複的風景,藉由一個月以上的長期駐點,與社區居民開展出深刻且持續性的對話,再投入個人創作。

面對不同族群的高度歧異,以及以排灣族為主的原民文化,策展人林怡華說:「包括我,都必須先放下策展的觀念;藝術家也必須放掉自己的創作主張,才能受到在地的影響、啟發。」這批作品,如同部落裡的小米,紮紮實實、「土生土長」。

20件作品,20座通往南迴的橋梁

雖然國內近年不乏商業色彩濃厚的大型節慶活動,也在短期內創造出可觀的經濟效益;或者有如日本越後妻有的「大地藝術祭」,將公共藝術視為催動地方發展的引擎,帶動地方觀光發展。

但林怡華認為,由於計畫的資金來源,來自於南迴道路拓寬計畫的回饋金,初衷便是希望回饋地方文化發展;加上在地過去罕見大型活動舉辦,更遑論藝術計畫。尤其,對於基礎建設仍待發展的偏鄉來說,並未準備好要迎接蜂擁而來的觀光人潮。

因此,打從計畫伊始,林怡華就不以商業效益作為主要考量。散落在人跡罕至的山麓、海濱、郊村中的作品,毫不遷就遊客在交通上的便利性,為的就是鼓勵大家造訪那些平時少有契機前往的地方;行銷上,少了以推廣作品為主的宣傳策略,而以50場以上富有教育性質的文化活動取代。換言之,為沉寂的南迴搭建起一座座對外聯絡的橋梁,才是這一次策展的立意所在。

因此,這一次的藝術計畫扭轉多數策展「為藝術服務」的主軸。台北市立美術館館長林平指出,在這項計畫裡,藝術是媒介,而非最終的目標,透過藝術家長期駐紮後產生的創作,除了作品本身傳遞出許多訊息,甚至可能擾動當地社區,「這樣的作品,甚至會讓接觸到的人改變想法、產生關係。」林平說。

過去至多被單車騎士視為環島必經之路的南迴,若能藉此吸引到更多人到此留步、停駐,對於這一次的計畫來說,已然足夠。

 

消弭二元性  

南迴的人口組成九成以上都是排灣族,受當地影響的作品自然饒富原民色彩。原住民將藝術融於生活,極富創造力、啟發性的日常行動,以及與萬物相融一體的獨特思維,啟發不少藝術家的創作。夢境╱現實、人造╱自然、傳說╱真實的分野相繼打破,世界被賦予新意,靈感與想像源源不絕,生活本身就是行動中的藝術。

 

 

夢啟酒

黃博志╱計畫型作品╱安朔部落美美健康坊

原住民視夢境為真實的存在,也是日常生活的重要依歸;夢的自由狀態,貼近藝術的本質。卡加日坂家族的頭目包顏華擁有預知夢的能力,藝術家黃博志運用頭目經營的「美美健康坊」作為展場,透過既有的空間陳設,搭配攝影、書寫與霓虹燈管等配置,混淆現實,重新召喚夢境的模樣。走進這裡,與頭目攀談,喝一杯祖靈託夢指點過的小米酒,就猶如走進頭目的夢。

 

 

名字嗎?我有很多個 

吳思嶔╱多媒體裝置╱大鳥溪畔

流傳在各個原住民族之間的矮黑人傳說,雖然缺乏可考的歷史文獻佐證,但在耆老歷歷如繪的描述下,仍是族人共享的記憶亮點。藝術家吳思嶔的作品,選擇放置在大鳥部落旁、傳聞中的矮黑人遺址附近,遊客可以下載App「My name? I have a lot of names.」,掃描藝術品上的QR Code,透過AR技術重新召喚矮黑族現身,體驗傳說與真實交融。

 

 

南方向量 

游文富╱立體裝置╱下南田海濱

從自然取材的竹材,經過大自然的洗滌,呈現出深淺不一的色澤,交錯起伏的紋路,仿擬海風、浪濤的造型。自然的力量不受人造建築的限制,師法自然的人造藝術品,揭露自然力量無孔不入的特質,突破水泥堤防的侷限,跨越到海的另一端,寫下人造與自然相互辯證的張力。

 

 

全方位五感體驗  

除了常見的雕塑、裝置藝術、塗鴉、攝影等靜態藝術,藝術家同時訴諸聽覺,使用聲音紀錄、音樂演出,或者運用科技工具,以AR(擴增實境)、VR(虛擬實境)創造動態體驗,不少藝術品更延伸舉辦文化學習課程。藉由視覺、味覺、聲景與地景方方面面地交融,全方位傳遞出地方蘊含的豐饒訊息。

 

海生月民間譚 

楊雨樵╱表演藝術╱台九線大武濱海公園海灘

邱承宏創作的〈陽台〉,突兀地降落在空曠的大武海濱沙灘。說唱藝術家楊雨樵,在陽台前講述世界各國與海相關的民間謠傳。說書人起伏有致的聲腔,與部落裡盛行的口傳文化相互指涉。後方一輪明月從黝暗的海平面上緩緩浮升,看似封閉的南迴,透過大海,連結廣大的世界。

 

 

移動的景緻‧奔流熱舞樂 

李世揚╱表演藝術╱南迴線普快車3672

即將退役的藍皮普快車3672,是傳統的柴油列車,車廂內沒有冷氣,只有吊頂的風扇,伴隨著鳴笛、柴油煙味,復古味十足。恰好行經南迴四鄉的普快車,從太麻里到大武40分鐘的車程,成為即興鋼琴家李世揚的演出舞台,他從排灣古調改編成容易為現代人理解的新曲,同時結合說唱、舞蹈,融合成大地上飛馳的魔幻風景。

 

 

洄游音樂聚 

文化學習活動╱土坂部落新興橋下

活動以地勢隱密的土坂部落作為據點,仿擬原鄉的傳統生活。先由共煮共食原味午餐開始;午後一同學習製作花環、藤球、紙鎮等傳統工藝;夜晚,學員聚集在河岸旁,不同族群、不同國家的音樂家輪番演出。除了外地遊客,半數以上都是部落族人前來參與,這一場高度私密的活動,復刻了部落昔日生活的甜美,林怡華說:「就像所有人都重新回到孩子的狀態。」

 

 

回饋在地文化  

計畫強調以南迴四鄉為主體,藝術家先聆聽在地需求,再回應地景。所有的作品,是對南迴深情的凝視,也是一趟奇妙相遇的饋贈。

 

在屾 

豪華朗機工╱立體裝置╱大鳥休憩站旁的濱海公路地

2016年的尼伯特風災,摧毀台東多處荖葉園,以跨界聞名的豪華朗機工,在廢墟裡看見天然災害的啟示。團隊擇荖葉園中頹圮的鋼筋水泥作為創作素材,不再產生額外的浪費,鏤空的山形,帶有幾分虧欠之意。這一場人為的造山運動,想以人造的山景填回已然失去的山景。

 

 

Vuvu & Vuvu 

戴克斯特菲南德╱彩繪漆╱大武國中

出於南島語族的共通性,林怡華特別邀請多位東南亞藝術家參與計畫。菲律賓藝術家戴克斯特菲南德遠道而來,進駐南迴2個月,將期間的閱歷、遭遇到的人事物,結合他慣用的塗鴉符碼,繪製於大武國中活動中心的牆面。壁畫猶如一幅巨大的拼貼畫,沒有明確視覺的起點與終點,扣合排灣族將阿嬤與小孩都稱為「Vuvu」,生生不息的哲學觀。

 

 

Ina的記憶花園 

謝聖華╱展演性計畫╱南方以南服務站

與自然相依的原住民,保有與自然互動的豐富文化。藝術家謝聖華運用台灣原生種植物,以及原住民常食用的野菜,在南方以南服務站,打造出一座室內花園。花圈的概念,源於排灣文化常見的花環頭飾,對性情內斂的排灣族來說,花環不只是單純裝飾物,不同的植物與編織方式,暗藏了不同部落、家族的身分線索;贈與對方花環,也帶有祝福之意,是族人之間無須言明的傳情之物。

 

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