MOCA – Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei

Without doubt, ART is an integral part of every society and culture. It may narrate historical events, tales or myths of a particular country; it may also express the artists or the society’s emotions, beliefs or experiences. Art can become the ideal means for someone to protest against injustice; to prompt cultural diversity or denounce social and political division within a country. Art has always something to say or reminisce – even silence and emptiness is a way to express oneself.

As far as I’m concerned, art museums are very sacred places. Although, I’m not an artist nor can understand art properly, when I find myself in places dedicated to art – any kind of art – I feel possessed by a sense of devoutness. There’s always something (an exhibit) that talks to me and I’m more than pleased to hear its story!

Therefore, it is my firm belief that visiting art museums is a “must – do” when traveling. In this way, you may get a good insight of the morality, the edification, the beliefs and ideals, the fears or problems of a particular society. Because art is the imprint of a civilization on this world at a given time.

MOCA“, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Taipei, is no exception to the above.

I love such clear blue sky with trees.
And now here we are at MOCA!

Indeed, visiting MOCA was a revelatory experience for me because the majority of the exhibits there had so many things to scream out to the visitors and the entire world. The way I perceived the exhibition, it was like a journey to the history of humanity and Taiwan itself. I could only see the agony of the various artists who were posing so many and important questions to the audience: What is to be human? What have we accomplished as a species? What kind of atrocities have we committed and how much have we suffered from our own deeds? Where do we stand now? And, finally, to what ambiguous future are we heading towards? … So many emotions at once; they rose like a huge wave, ready to drown me.

Nonetheless, I found it fascinating, because in the end of the day, this was the result of people/artists who think deeply and seriously. Living in a world where shallow emotions and relationships prevail, this experience was more than encouraging.

I was amazed by the artists of “Rosa’s Wound” exhibition; mainly, because this exhibition is a tribute to memories! Those memories include the past from Taiwan during World Word II, Vietnam during Vietnam War, Indonesia during wars and times of oppression, and also foreign labours as slavery issue, such as fishery slavery. The artists present the hideousness of the war in a quite riveting way. Although people tend to forget the past mistakes and pain, the artists here rub salt into the wound, so as it won’t heal. Their purpose is not to allow the people’s mind to forget the horror, the terror and the bloodshed of the war, so as humanity won’t repeat the same faults.

Moving from the past to the present, the “Hiding in the Island” exhibition is something more than a reference to the Formosans, aboriginal tribes of Taiwan. Probably, the exhibition is an attempt to evoke public awareness on the societal issues which concern the county, such as homeless people, people in poverty, or excessive consumerism. From my point of view, the artists try to remind to the public the neglected or forgotten remnants of these tribes, which also constitute a part of this country’s population. So, finally these tribes should be acknowledged and included to the forming of a collective, social and cultural identity.

The Future That Never Comes” is the final exhibition of this route and, as the title implies, it is a glimpse to our future world. A world in which artificial intelligence will have become very common in our life and machines will carry out errands and tasks for humans. Through these ambiguous artworks, the artist probably challenge us to question ourselves whether we should take on the risk of this unknown evolution.

To conclude with, if you ever visit Taipei, do not miss the chance to go to see the MOCA. Although, the exhibitions mentioned above are not permanent – “The Future That Never Comes” exhibition will be in the museum until 03/05 -, however I’m more than confident that you’ll see a lot of interesting exhibits. Besides, bear in mind that art tames and educates the people, so make a favour to yourselves.

Side notes:

  • MOCA is an historical building and it was originally used as one of the eight primary schools during Japanese Era before being utilized as the main building for Taipei City Government until 1994. In 2001, the building was renovated into Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei.
  • MOCA is not just a building, it also features neighboring area as its exibition ground, so on the way from MOCA to the underground market toward Taipei Main Station, you can see many art works scaterring around in MOCA’s radious.

Address: No. 39, Ch’ang An West Road, Ta-Tung District, 10351 Taipei City, Taiwan

Visiting Information:  Open on 10:00 – 1800; Tickets sold until 17:30 p.m; Closed on Mondays (Click here for more details)

Transportation: Take MRT Red Line or Green Line to [R11] / [G14] Chungshan Station (Zhongshan Station) and leave from exit 1, following the map as provided here:

Advertisements

A walk around Taipei City – Urban Style

So far, we have introduced you very specific spots of Taipei, like museums, restaurants, particular people, shops and … so on …. so on. However we haven’t shown you the most important thing …. The Taipei City itself; The cradle which hosts all these wonderful people and places.

So, the purpose of this post is to take you with us to our strolls around the town and show you the urban aspect of this amazing and diverse city of the far East. Are you ready to walk?

↑ These places in the photos above are the East Gate Town (東門町 Tung Mêng Ting), which used to be the residential area of civil servants located in the south of Taipei, and the West Gate Town (西門町 Hsi Mêng Ting); the place is located in the west of Taipei and it gathers mostly youths and fashion trends.

As you can see, Taipei has nothing to envy from a western city. You can find anything you want at any time of the day. Of course, the mentality and the aesthetics is quite different from the western standards, as it fuses the Chinese, Japanese, and Western styles. However, as soon as you get used to it, you realize that this is exactly what makes Taipei so attractive.

↑ Here you can see a part of the Inner City (left and top right); as well as parts of the southern Taipei (rest of two pic).

Walking down the streets of the city made us realize that we never felt insecure. In most western cities, riding the subway or walking in crowded places is not very safe because you may get pick-pocketed or molested. However, this is not the case with Taipei. Even when we were walking alone during the night, we never faced any incident. Well, we can’t tell whether we were lucky or ignorant, but certainly Taipei felt like a very safe city for tourists and locals.

↑ In the photos above (in the top 3) you can see the Ta-An Forest park, which is located in the south of Taipei. Some describe it as the “Central Park of Taipei” because its name stands for what it is: a forest. It even has a small lake. (we will come back with an independent post about it.) The bottom photo shows the Nan Hai Academy, a very typical Chinese building.

Despite the fact that Taipei is a huge city, it’s remarkable that you can go from the one part of the city to another really easy. Coming from a country quite unorganized, we were astounded by the easy access to any means of transportation; be it subway, bus or train. Indeed, the transportation network is extremely well organized and friendly to the tourists. (OK, apart from the fact we personally can’t read Chinese. 😛 ) So, even without a local guide, it actually needs effort for someone to get lost. Plus, Taiwanese people are very polite and they will assist you in case of emergency. By the way, riding a taxi in Taipei is outrageously …. cheap! So in case of need don’t hesitate to call a cab.

As we’ve mentioned before, Taipei is surrounded by nature. You may start walking and you’ll find yourself close to the nature within a small amount of time. Nature and civilization coexist in this city harmonically. This place in the photos above is close to Treasure Hill in the south of Taipei.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the tour around the city. Of course, there are so many other parts of the town to see, but our purpose here is to give you a taste and tempt you to come and see by yourself. Exploring Taipei is a life time experience. So, how about you book your tickets … ?