Erenlai - Si-Wei Wu (吳思薇)
Si-Wei Wu (吳思薇)

Si-Wei Wu (吳思薇)

Friday, 29 July 2011 21:15

Rehabilitation of Teenagers in Taiwan

The director of Taoyuan's Youth Rehabilitation Centre, Lin Qiulan, discusses the life of young offenders in rehabilitation, including recent programs which encourage them to express themselves, like Zen tea rituals, writing projects and art.

Monday, 28 March 2011 17:48

時間‧夢境‧狂想曲

距今一千多年前的某個夜晚,有位詩人和他的兄弟在花園裡舉行宴會。眾人一邊賞花一邊喝酒聊天,氣氛十分輕鬆愜意。或許是夜色和酒意讓詩人覺得有點迷茫吧,他一提筆,寫下了這樣的句子:

夫天地者,萬物之逆旅;光陰者,百代之過客。而浮生若夢,為歡幾何?古人秉燭夜遊,良有以也。

Monday, 28 March 2011 15:23

山邊教室的靜謐時光:桃園少輔院

山邊的教室是這些孩子的暫居之地,也是他們學習重新出發的場所。

儘管他們身體的自由因過往錯誤受到局限,受創徬徨的心靈卻得以在此地安歇,發揮應有的潛能。

Monday, 28 March 2011 15:19

讓文藝種子長成大樹

看見同學的潛力被激發,播在他們心中的文藝種子慢慢長成大樹,

是林秋蘭院長在這裡工作覺得最開心的事!

Friday, 25 February 2011 11:34

落難貴族和他的春之頌歌

一首詩的背後,隱藏了詩人的萬千思緒和他最深的個人體驗……


Friday, 21 January 2011 13:30

If these Walls could Talk

Translated from Chinese by Jason Chen

Abandoned houses are probably some of the most common ruins we can see in Taiwan. From the things left inside these houses we can briefly understand the life style of the previous owner. Although we might feel some shame or guilt by invading other people’s privacy, by getting into their memories and private life we can adorn our curiosity with a sense of intimacy.

The past appearance of these luxurious ruins

If a certain abandoned house once belonged to a member of the gentry, the memory of the house would also bring out the local history of the place, making the ruin even more valuable. An example would be the Chi Qay Residence in Wurih in Taichung: This red and white mansion was built in 1919, and is the former residence of a well known local poet, Ro-Shi Chen. The county government appointed this house as a Third-Level historical site, recognising its excellent condition. The mansion combined both the Baroque and the Taiwanese traditional courtyard houses styles, making it a very unique building in the history of Taiwanese architecture.

 

What is special about the Chi-Qay Residence is that it is a historical site under management but at the same time, no one really looks after the place. During the holiday periods one can find many photographers and people from the wedding industry there. The house even has exclusive stamps for people to stamp, making it a sightseeing spot. Not under strict management, there is a sense of “freedom” in this place. Although there are security guards watching and it is only open during certain times, the guards normally turn a blind eye for tourists to slip in from the side door, not really obeying any rules.

The Chi-Qay Residence is almost too luxurious compare to other ruins. However, as you go deeper into the mansion, you start to see some old furniture, wrecked outdoor bathrooms, tilted beams and walls that are exposed of bricks, making tourists feel like they are really in a ruin. Interestingly enough, many visitors take photos of the pin-up calendar hanging inside the mansion (some of the models are shockingly sexy, to their amazement), to prove they have been to the place. The Chi-Qay Residence brings out the memories of the past beyond space and time and beyond social class, smiling warmly at the public.

Collective memory that fades

moment2If there is not just one but several abandoned houses in an area, it gives people a totally different feeling. One lone abandoned house only leaves traces of the families who lived in it over the generations. The ruins of a whole village, however, hide the collective cultural memory of an entire group. For example, the military dependent villages in Taiwan.

Most buildings in Taiwanese military communities were illegally constructed. We can tell the people in the village have lived a difficult life by looking at the simple architectural structure of their houses and the scarce use of their little room space. When the houses were built, most people believed they would only be temporary accommodation and they would be able to “go back home” soon. However, after a period of time, these people started to realise that they were unable to return to their homes on the other side of the ocean. They would have to settle in Taiwan. Once the people living there started to age, die or relocate, and the commercial value of the land increased, these military communities began to be demolished one by one.

Thanks to the artistic skill of an old gentleman, the “Rainbow” military dependent village in Chun-Nam-Theun in Taichung became popular almost overnight. This old gentleman and his small group of neighbours live in semi-ruined houses in the Rainbow military dependent village. In their spare time they painted artworks on some of the abandoned houses. Unexpectedly, their efforts attracted a large number of tourists to come visit the village. Eventually politicians also became interested in the place and recognised its commercial potential, temporarily delaying the fate of being demolished.

For the time being the Rainbow village looks like it is not going the way of so many other military communities as the government has promised that the place will be preserved. However, the so called “preservation policy” actually forces the current residents to relocate before the village is transformed into a "leisure-village". Without the artistic skill of the old gentleman and the living traces of the original residents, what makes the Rainbow community unique? What if the memories of the community are removed and all that remains are the cold but colourful buildings? This scenario may be even more miserable than the community being smashed into ruin and redeveloped.

The survival of Wan-Chun Residence

moment3Post-disaster wreckage is a different type of ruin that can bring a tear to one’s eye. Normally, these kinds of ruins are formed after a natural disaster hits a place, completely destroying buildings, killing and injuring residents and a leaving a painful memory in community’s collective memory.

Some post-disaster wreckages are preserved to warn future generations and teach them a lesson. After the 921 earthquake in 1999, some earthquake parks were established in central Taiwan. Whether it is the remains of a elementary school building that has collapsed or the surface of a playground that has been uplifted, these spaces were all transformed by the horrifying power of the earthquake.

What is most scary about these types of ruin is that it is not only natural disasters that create them but also man-made, and therefore avoidable, disasters. In 2009, Typhoon Morakot hit Taiwan and the reconstruction process still remains difficult. Whenever heavy rains arrive in an affected area, the residents evacuate immediately, fearing the tragedy might happen all over again.

Mr. Wu, a blogger who has previously written for Renlai, made a special trip to Namasia Township, Nansha Lu in Kaohsiung County (the place most severely affected by the Typhoon), in order to film a documentary. From Mr Wu’s work we were able to see the area after the disaster, including the abandoned houses that were hit and partially buried by landslides.

Compared to the wreckage Mr. Wu saw, what happened in the Tseng-Wen River Across Territory Water Channel Construction Site was probably even more unforgettable. Although the tragedy of Tsiao-Lin Village and Nan-Sa-Lu Village that were destroyed during Typhoon Morakot could not be directly linked to this construction project, the two villages were closest to the site. For safety reasons, the government has decided not to carry out construction work for the next 3 to 5 years.

However, when Mr. Wu and his friends travelled near the construction site, they saw gravel trucks and excavators were still working there, even channelling the river towards the direction of Nan-Sa-Lu Village. While Mr. Wu was taking photos of the scene, a construction personnel came and queried them as to the department they work for. Mr. Wu wrote in his blog:

“I ignored the guy’s question and he turned to my friend and asked him the same question. My friend replied, 'we are only here to take photos, we don’t work for any department.'

The Construction personnel requested us to leave and pointed out to us that the south and north sides of the site are not related. We didn’t want to cause any trouble so we just left. Later we told President Lee (who is in charge of the Nan-Sa-Lu Village Reconstruction Committee) about what happened there and he said to us “You guys are lucky being able to made it out of the site without being bashed up!”

Photos: Lordcolus
Tuesday, 07 December 2010 09:58

人籟七年:來自《人籟》家長的祝福

現在您手上捧的這本雜誌,已在風雨飄搖的出版業中度過了第七個年頭。

雖然草創時期歷盡艱辛,《人籟》終究是逐漸站穩了腳跟,也和讀者建立起深厚關係,更在諸多媒體中找到自己的定位,挺身面對台灣社會的種種問題。

Wednesday, 03 November 2010 15:31

廢中有生意—廢墟建築學院的創意實驗


西門町中華路一帶,有許多久遭廢棄的細長形街屋:它們每層樓都有條狹窄的走廊,兩側陳列著長年光線不足、悶熱潮溼、堆滿雜物與垃圾的小房間。 

Wednesday, 03 November 2010 15:24

「廢」話連篇—姚瑞中X阮慶岳


「我們都叫他「廢墟王子」!」阮慶岳笑道。

「現在是「廢墟杯杯」了啦。」姚瑞中也笑著回應。

曾出版數本廢墟主題圖文集的台灣藝術家姚瑞中,可說是台灣廢墟研究中的重量級人物;而他的建築師老友阮慶岳,則曾多次以廢墟為題進行演說,深度挖掘廢墟之美。

 

Wednesday, 06 October 2010 23:46

The Native Evolution of Jingliao Church

Translated from Chinese by Conor Stuart

"I think the future of architecture does not lie so much in continuing to fill up the landscape, as in bringing back life and order to our cities and towns."
——Gottfried Böhm

Holy Cross Church: Made in Germany for Taiwan

In 1955, the German priest Eric Jansen, of the Franciscan Order, was sent to the Houbi township in Tainan County to establish the parish of Jingliao. For locals, this á-tok-á [Taiwanese language semi-derogatory term that uses “big nose” to describe foreigners] was quite entertaining: he could play the accordion, and imitate the calls of lots of different animals and often used a slide projector. However, what heightened their curiosity towards him was his unexpected decision to build a Catholic church in this small township. At the time everyone was primarily interested in seeing what foreign buildings looked like, no-one anticipated (not even the priest himself) that decades later the church’s presence would have such a dramatic effect, and become such a prominent tourist attraction, and the reason for this fame would be another foreigner.

Through the recommendation of another priest from Sinying (新營) Parish, Jansen managed to get in contact with a young architect called Gottfried Böhm. Böhm is from the south of Germany and was born into a family of architects, a family particularly known for church design. After a period of correspondence, Böhm agreed to Father Jansen’s request. At the end of 1955 the blueprint was completed, and in 1960 the work was completed and the church opened for use. The people of Jingliao were, from then on, free to frequent a very peculiar church.

In 1986 Böhm won the Pritzker Architecture Prize, which is seen as an equivalent to the Nobel Prize in the architecture world. However very few people are aware that one of his works in in Taiwan, and it is said that even Böhm himself forgot about it.The plans were only unearthed three years ago, and everything that Jingliao Church had gone through in the intervening years was made public, which made people flock there in large numbers, to see this sacred shrine of architecture.

 

The silver hall amongst the billowing rice plants

In Jingliao, the Holy Cross Church leads somewhat of a distinctive existence: The silver grey of the steeple rises suddenly above the rice plants towering over them. On top of the steeple there are different decorations all replete with religious symbolism including a cockerel, a dove, a cross and a crown, so as to indicate respectively the belfry, the baptismal font, the sanctuary and the resting place of the Blessed Sacrament. Beside the church is a dormitory and a kindergarten, all enclosed within the same compound, and interlinked.

bohm_church_4When designing the Holy Cross Church, Böhm was heavily influenced by Modernism, with its simple lines as well as the abundance of natural light and open space. However his family trade was architecture, so the basic traits of European Catholic Churches are still noticeable in the entire Church, like for example, in the steeple, the baptismal hall and the wall mosaics, the convention of having the Baptismal Hall separate from the main church has also been adopted.

In addition, one can also observe Böhm's attentiveness to detail in terms of Circulation Design, the way from the belfry to the church is low, until after it winds around the holy water font, then the entire space becomes brighter and more spacious.

Finally when one arrives at the altar, radiant light spills down from the steeple, falling exactly where the cross and the altar lie, the altar is lighted from the windows behind it, bestowing a natural sanctity to the ambiance. Böhm also designed the decoration and religious vessels, making the architectural structure consistent with the interior. The presence of these decorative features, not only enriches the structural details, but it also endows the entire space with a certain integrity. Even so, the very tangible European style of the church looks out of place in the surrounding scenery, so how could it be integrated as an everyday space for local residents, and become a part of their community? The way in which this happened is perhaps the most interesting of all.

 

Reinventing piece by piece an alien concept of the local

bohm_church_3All the plans by Böhm were completed in Germany, and he never set foot on Taiwanese soil. In the plans, with the exception of a few embellishments like a few palm trees in the background, and a few notes in German detailing the interior of the church, like "Formosan window lattice" on the plans for the main chapel, it's not known what image he had of this exotic island, and how much of this imagined image that he incorporated into his design concept. For example, the altar in the church is octagonal; according to the present Parish Priest, the inspiration for this design was the Eight Diagrams derived from the Classic of the I-Ching, which is familiar to all Taiwanese. However he also mentions that many altars of many European churches are octagonal, said to symbolize the Eighth Day of Creation, which is often used within the church as a metaphor for new beginnings or rebirth.This ambiguously double layered symbolism helps to bridge the gap between foreign architecture and localism.

There is also a more active local reclamation of the church, which manifests itself in the addition of “native” features after the fact.The incense burner is a good example of this; as one approaches it, the burnt remnants of joss sticks are clearly visible. The priest states that incense has been used in the mass traditionally, so using an incense burner during rituals is not particularly inappropriate. However, due to its proximity to an icon of the Holy Mother, this attacks our notion of what constitutes “the Western Church”, with the appearance of red ancestral tablets sitting on a table inscribed “These tablets are in commemoration of the ancestors of Houbi township”. Despite the fact that Catholic Church permits an altered form of manism amongst its Chinese congregations, seeing this kind of offering in plain view gives an uneasy feeling of novelty. Since Vatican II, which advocated the integration of local customs into the Church, incense burners and manistic tablets have been pouring into churches, which is very effective in decreasing the distance between the church and the people.

The current appearance of the Jingliao Church is actually the result of the 40 intervening years of reconstruction efforts. First, the humidity of the climate caused certain parts to collapse and come apart, the only solution was to switch to more climate friendly materials to repair them. The belfry by the entrance had collapsed in a natural disaster and was rebuilt, the new pillar was painted in five colours, and it bears a striking resemblance to a part of the neighbouring kindergarten.The window behind the altar has been boarded up, the reason for this being that a former priest of the parish had found the light too irritating to the eyes during mass.As for the steeple, the internal structure of which was formerly visible, due to rotting of the Chinese juniper timber used, the steeple began to leak, so it was sealed off. Faced with the rigours and demands of regular use, the aesthetic beauty and creativity of the design cannot but yield to practicality.

 

Returning to the realities of life

From the perspective of local residents, this compromise is not wholly inappropriate; to them, this bizarre church has already become an integral part of their lives. On weekdays children come to attend the kindergarten, adults come to mass to hear the priest preach in Taiwanese. On holidays the tourists flock to catch a glimpse of the famous church, and they are also the object of the discussions of residents. When the annual "Jingliao Dowry Culture Festival" (菁寮嫁妝文化節) arrives, couples clad in phoenix crowns and scarlet gowns can come here to be married, as the priest holds a stick of incense, and prays on the altar laden with the ears of rice plants. When attending a festival, there's usually an old resident who is familiar with the history of the church who will inform whoever will listen of the "Formosan window lattice" once changed for a dull aluminum door, fortunately now changed again for a red oriental style window lattice, they will point at the stained glass and remark that every pane is different, and ask visitors if they think it’s pretty, and without waiting for a response they will mutter, “it’s much more fitting with the style”.

It is evident therefore, that Böhm's aspirations were realized: the church is able to survive in a foreign land, it subsists not as a result of its unique aesthetic, but rather as a result of its incorporation and adaption to the reality of the local setting.

bohm_church_5

{rokbox album=|myalbum|}images/stories/bohm_church/*{/rokbox}

Photos: Jingliao Church and C. Phiv
Plan provided with courtesy of Taiwan National Museum

Friday, 01 October 2010 00:00

藝術,C'est la Vie!

「以前當學生的時候,有次和同學坐計程車,司機一聽到我們念舞蹈系,就說:『你們是跳R2(編註:指著名的綜藝舞蹈團體「馬雷蒙舞團」)的嗎?』聽起來很好笑對不對?當時許多人對舞蹈的認識大概都是這樣。直到雲門舞集出現,大家才比較清楚現代舞是怎麼一回事。」譚惠貞說。
 
Friday, 01 October 2010 03:42

數位胖卡,串行臺灣

一部沒有空調、高齡十年的中古麵包車,加上資訊裝備以及俗稱「宅男」的重度網路使用者,共同構成了「胖卡」計畫,企圖搭起城鄉資源互通的橋樑。


Page 1 of 2

Help us!

Help us keep the content of eRenlai free: take five minutes to make a donation

AMOUNT: 

Join our FB Group

Browse by Date

« August 2019 »
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  

We have 4049 guests and no members online