In 2017, the East Coast National Scenic Area, Tourism Bureau, Ministry of Transportation and Communications, Republic of China (hereinafter referred to as ECNSA) will host the third annual East Coast Land Art Festival. We invite artists to submit proposals to create installation arts that combine the natural environment, geographic landscape, and spatial aesthetics of the East Coast National Scenic Area. Four installation projects will be selected, and two international artists will be invited to create artwork onsite to present the unique earthy leisure aesthetics of the East Coast. The festival emphasizes onsite creation and local participation, focusing on the dialogue among art, nature and culture to adapt to the climate and ecological context of the East Coast. The purpose is to gather local and international artistic creativity through a modern cultural tourist strategy into shaping unique cultural and scenic landscapes of the East Coast of Taiwan.
The geographic basis of the “East Coast Land Art Festival” is the long and narrow land mass leaning against the coastal mountain range facing the Pacific, 168 kilometers in length, extending southward from outside of Hualien City to Taitung City; home to the site of Paleolithic Chanbian Culture (50,000 to 5,000 years ago) that presented the earliest evidence of human activity on the island of Taiwan. Thousands of years passed, ten indigenous groups have found their home here, as well as the Han Chinese and a significant numbers of new immigrants from around the world have also settled here with the total population nerely reaching over 50,000. With so many ethnic groups scattered around in such a long and narrow place where the mountains meet the ocean, its extending diversified and fluid character gave birth to unique symbiotic relationships, both inter-personally and between people and nature. Just like the intertidal zone, the exposed coastal area that belongs to both the land and the ocean, is where different realities overlap, home to the richest ecological diversity, as well as mothering an abundant marine life culture, a food bank from where the local Amis people are provided daily.
Therefore, this year’s theme, based on the core concept of “Mother Island” will present the unique cultural and natural qualities of the east coast through the creativity by artists’ residencies.
Nourished by the cultural fertilizer of the East Coast, we gained the perspective and prospect of “Hailing from the Mother Island to Meet the World.” In many of the Austronesian peoples’ oral histories Taiwan, the “Mother Island,” is the origin from where their ancestors first embarked on their journey. In the contemporary society we face the strong impact from globalization; all kinds of autonomy, whether of the land, ethnicity, or individuals, has been eroded into vagueness by the global economy and the internet, where the elements of time and space are removed. Thus, how to embrace the world while spreading roots on earth is the gift we would like to present to the world through the wonderful and poetic artworks from the “East Coast Land Art Festival.”
The natural power of the East Coast constantly reminds us how humble and limited our human life is. The scorching sun baking all day with intensity in the summer; this is where the typhoon season starts and continues into late autumn, threatening to land or pass by every ten days to two weeks. Everything is on watch, as if waiting for the result of a lottery. The typhoons bring forth tremendous amounts of wind gusts and rain in a short time, prepping the locals with optimism to always be ready to restart and have everything change suddenly. Otherwise, how can life take such a collision time after time? After the mid-Autumn Festival, the monsoon winds start blowing from the Northeast, with strong gusts and mighty waves often matching the intensity of a passing typhoon. And, this is coupled with the fact that it’s located on the edge where Eurasian plates push and crash into one another, which makes frequent earthquakes something ordinary.
The meeting ground of the sea and land, the intertidal zone. Where its bounty is produced by the constant washing of the ocean’s waves. Hualien and Taitung, the east coast of Taiwan, also known as “the last paradise”, gained its pristine beauty through the same process, being washed by the mighty forces of nature again and again, which has not only created its majestic landscape, but also the intense and tightly interwoven symbiotic relationship between nature and humans.
The artwork of the East Coast Land Art Festival is the extension of humans in nature, and inevitably it must face the harsh natural elements of the East Coast. Since our festival takes place during the typhoon season, we hope that the artists’ creative approach can be based on the concept “Typhoons are not Enemies, but Friends with Whom We Share Our Lives”.And with this, explore creative ideology, select mediums and forms of presentation in order to create an artistic interpretation that is in sync with the rhythms of East Coast.