Archive for July, 2010

finds: green sea turtles return to taiwan

July 30, 2010

I just read this article on Taiwan Today and felt compelled to post it here. Green sea turtles are nesting on the shores of Taiwan for the first time in 30 years. Awesome!

Two nest were found in coastal Taitung County and in one nest, six eggs had already hatched. They were monitored so closely that the newspaper could even report on how many survived and how the others died… in all it’s glory detail.

Here’s what the article says:

According to a volunteer conservationist, six of the eggs have already hatched, with two of the baby sea turtles successfully making it to the ocean, and four of the hatchlings being eaten by predators or succumbing to sickness.

One of the sea turtles was found caught in a fishing net and released in an emergency rescue, making it safely to the ocean afterward, the volunteer said. The carcass of another hatchling whose head had been eaten by a sand crab was also discovered in a fishing net in the area.

That’s right, they found a CARCASS whose HEAD was EATEN by a sand crab.

Read it for yourself.

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news: new Taichung ex-pat mag Guanxi is out

July 26, 2010

Taichung’s newest ex-pat magazine, Guanxi, is out and available in a ton of shops, cafes and restaurants around Taichung City. It was kind of funny to see my article in print. I submitted it such a long time ago that I’d all but forgotten about it.

As with every new magazine, Guanxi needs to spend some time finding it’s voice, particularly because it needs to appeal to such a varied audience, but hopefully this won’t be too much of a struggle for it. Really, it’s just good to see something out there that’s publishing actual articles rather than the pay-and-we-write-on-you model that Compass offers it’s readers.

The magazine will be released quarterly – at the start of every season – and the next one issue is due out sometime in September. I’ll be contributing a series on the artist studios at Stock 20.

finds: watch New Zealand short films for free (yes, FREE!)

July 23, 2010

A number (currently 140 titles) of seminal New Zealand short films have been made available for free streaming, courtesy of NZONSCREEN and the NZ Film Commission. A great new way to expose NZ films and filmmakers to the world.

From surrealist horrors, Alison Maclean’s Cannes-screened 1989 Kitchen Sink and psychological thrillers, the 2006 Nature’s Way, to quirky, to dark comedies, The Lounge Bar (1988) and fantastical fictions, like Cow (2001).

Kitchen Sink (1989)

Kitchen Sink (1989)

I’ve managed to catch a few in the past (Kitchen Sink is screened as a bog standard for any University of Auckland Film Studies 101 student) but a number have yet to flash past my eyes. With my lack of time at the moment, I hardly get the chance to watch films. Short films are the perfect quick fix.

Watch the films here.

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finds: Formosan vintage photographs

July 19, 2010

David on Formosa kindly pointed out an enthralling (my new favourite word) new blog, Taipics.com, that presents images of old Taiwan, from photographs of aboriginal people to pictures of old-era cities.

Old Taiwanese postcard. Image "borrowed" from Taipics.com.

It’s always engaging to look through old photos of the town or country you live in, trying to match up what’s still around with what you see in the pictures. While much of old Taichung is gone, I love travelling into the old part of the city by the train station and peering past the neon signage and billboards to grasp at glimpses of old facades and early advertising. It’s still there, you might just need to use your imagination a bit more than in other cities like my old stomping ground, Melbourne.

Take your time browsing through the website. There are some beautiful old postcards under the media section.

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JoB likes: ENTHRALLING INTERVIEWS WITH RENOWNED ARTISTS

July 18, 2010

My interview with Taiwanese artist Tsong Pu was enthralling and a great start to my exploration of the Taiwanese contemporary art industry.

On Friday, I was privileged to interview Taiwanese old-generation contemporary painter and installation artist, Tsong Pu. Teacher Tsong doesn’t speak English (actually, he does have a grasp of a little English but not enough to conduct an interview), so his friend, Taiwanese artist agent Lawrence Chuang, attended the interview as translator. I was a little nervous as I’ve never conducted an interview with translator before and wasn’t sure how the interview would flow. It turns out Tsong Pu is very amiable.

Tsong Pu, 'One Comes from Emptiness' 2009. Image courtesy of the artist.

Tsong Pu, 'One Comes from Emptiness' 2009. Image courtesy of the artist.

Tsong Pu has an incredibly engaging presence – the rhythm of his speech is enrapturing. Even though he was speaking Chinese and I couldn’t understand a word of it, I couldn’t help but listen intently to what he was saying. It made me desperately wish I could speak his language. I was lucky enough to conduct the interview in his studio in the Da’an district of Taipei City (he has two studios; the other is in the mountains on the edges of the city) where I could view some of his newest paintings as well as early pieces and installation models. Interviewing artists in their place of work is invaluable – you immediately have a better understanding of their process.

Unfortunately, I ran out of time to get to his current exhibition, on at TFAM, and was also unable to visit the Taipei gallery Tsong Pu founded with others 20 years ago, IT Park. I hope to get up to Taipei in the near future to make these visits.

I came away from the interview feeling genuinely privileged to have spoken with such an influential Taiwanese artist. I could have talked with him for hours more, there is just so much to explore in his thirty-odd year career that one and a half hours just didn’t do it justice. Well, there was an offer of drinking, dinner and crashing at his studio for the night, so there’s always next time.

Keep an eye on Art Radar Asia for my interview and Soundslide with Tsong Pu – up there in a couple of weeks.

Read more of my stories on contemporary Asian art on Art Radar Asia.

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News: JoB is back, but probably still sporadically

July 14, 2010

I’ve been tied up with nearly one million things of late: planning for my impending wedding here in Taiwan, travelling over the mountains on a scooter from Taichung to Hualien and back, editing and writing (well, mostly editing) for Art Radar Asia, writing an article for new Taichung ex-pat mag, Guanxi, and counting down the days until I finish up as an English teacher with Hess.

So, poor old JoB has been completely neglected over the past few months. But, as I recently noticed that people are still actually visiting this space, I’m going to try my darnedest to remedy this by posting short, informative posts on interesting stuff.

Some things to look forward to:

  • A picture feast of adventures over the spine of Taichung on a scooter.
  • A round-up of my articles published on Art Radar Asia recently, including a link to my impending interview with seminal Taiwanese contemporary artist Tsong Pu.
  • A copy/link to my article on comedy group Taichung Improv in the soon-to-be released first issue of Guanxi magazine.
  • Other stuff that I feel like posting on as I see fit.

Lots to stop by for, huh?

Travelling along Taiwan's mountain highway, Highway 14.

Travelling along Taiwan's mountain highway, Highway 14.

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Copyright © 2010. This website is for personal non-commercial use only. All written work and imagery copyright to jar of buttons unless otherwise stated.