What's more attractive to young Taiwanese music talents – South Korea or Taiwan?
The News Lens
By: Olivia Han
Photo Credit: Reuters / TPG Images
When South Korea bombarded North Korea with K-pop music broadcasts across its border in 2016, the broadcasts were described as “a peaceful version of the nuclear bomb.” If a country’s entertainment industry is properly invested, it might well be a powerful weapon of influence.
The K in K-pop may stand for Korean, but the music genre has surpassed its niche and reached global status. More K-pop groups, like BTS and Blackpink, are having world tours and songs charting high on the Billboard. When physical CD sales dropped globally, it was the opposite in South Korea; there was an 11-percent increase in CD sales in 2012 due to creative marketing strategies such as adding collectible items like photo cards and a raffle ticket giving fans the chance to attend a meet and greet.
As K-pop is no longer a niche market, many foreigners are heading to Korea to pursue their dreams of stardom. East Asians still make up the majority in the K-pop scene, with more Taiwanese faces on the rise. Whenever a Taiwanese person debuts in Korea, he or she would often make the entertainment media’s headlines being referred to as "Taiwanese pride.”
With K-pop’s tremendous growth potential in the international stage, perhaps more Taiwanese would consider exploring the opportunities of sharpening and showcasing their talent in Korea, where entertainment agencies provide rigorous training as well as the promise of a much larger stage. As of now, the most distinguishable Taiwanese K-pop artists are Amber Liu (劉逸雲), Chou Tzuyu (周子瑜), and Lai Guanlin (賴冠霖). [FULL STORY]
The Formosa Circus Art (FOCA) group from Taiwan specialise in combining the contemporary modern circus arts of Taiwan with acrobatics, theatre arts, and more traditional forms.
Date: June 29, 2019
By: Antara Raghavan
FOCA acrobats (above and right) demonstrate tough choreographic positions.
ACROBATICS has always been a sport that has fascinated spectators and evoke admiration. It is not only an activity which demonstrates incredible gymnastic feats, but is also a highly demanding discipline which requires skill, years of training, and precise balance and handeye-coordination.
The Formosa Circus Art (FOCA) group from Taiwan more than meets all these exact requirements.
They specialise in combining the contemporary modern circus arts of Taiwan with acrobatics, theatre arts, and more traditional forms. They are well-known in Taiwan and across the globe.
Their current project is the show, The Heart of Asia. This show does not just comprise spectacular gymnastic accomplishments on stage, but the exploration and experimentation of a variety of performance arts. [FULL STORY]
Radio Taiwan International
Date: 26 June, 2019
By: Shirley Lin
Photo by Dancing in the Sky dance troupe
Dancing in the Sky dance troupe is the only local contemporary dance group in eastern Taiwan’s Taitung County. Its upcoming work, which translates to “Bach’s Face”, will be a collaboration with pianist Chou Mei-chun, using the music of J.S. Bach. Chou recently released a piano album called “BACH Experience”.
The Dancing in the Sky troupe has been lauded as one of the most outstanding dance groups from Taitung County over 15 consecutive years. Troupe leader Tsai Fu-sung says troupe members have gone through three months of intense training in acting to allow them to express their inner emotions through dance. The troupe will give a single performance of the work each in June, August, and September in Taitung. [SOU9RCE]
Filmmaker Wu De-chuen (left) and paper-cutting artist Johan Cheng spotlight their contribution to the Green Island Human Rights Art Festival running June 15 to Sept. 15 in southeastern Taiwan’s Taitung County. (CNA)
The Green Island Human Rights Art Festival is set to kick off June 15 at the Green Island White Terror Memorial Park in southeastern Taiwan’s Taitung County, shedding light on the lives and sacrifices of those detained at the former political prison.
Organized by the National Human Rights Museum, the three-month festival is themed Visiting No. 15 Liumagou, the former address of the jail. A total of 12 artists and groups have been invited to create new works exploring the history of the site through mediums spanning animation, film installation and modern dance.
Also featured is a June 16 screening of the documentary “Spring: The Story of Hsu Chin-yu” by local director Tseng Wen-chen, as well as 14 seminars and workshops.
Speaking at a news conference June 12, Deputy Culture Minister Hsiao Tsung-huang said the festival aims to deepen awareness and promote reflection on human rights violations during the period of authoritarian rule. [FULL STORY]
New Bloom Magazine Date: May 31, 2019 By Brian Hioe
VALERIE SOE’S Love Boat: Taiwan details the history of an institution well-known among diasporic Taiwanese and particularly Taiwanese-Americans—the Love Boat, officially known as the Overseas Compatriot Youth Formosa Study Tour. Despite how widely known the program is, Love Boat: Taiwanis likely the first attempt to historically document the program.
The tour program, which exists in a scaled-down form even today, provided a monthlong tour of Taiwan for individuals of Taiwanese or Chinese descent born outside of Taiwan or China from 1967 onward. The program was begun by the KMT government during authoritarian times as a way of bolstering cultural claims of being the rightful representative of China, as a means of building what we would term today soft power among young diasporic Taiwanese or Chinese. However, the tour acquired its name of Love Boat because of the culture of hook-ups, dating, and wild partying which developed out of participants in the program.
Indeed, director Valerie Soe was herself a participant in the program, hence her interest in revisiting the program many years later. Soe’s documentary benefits not only from her firsthand experiences at Love Boat, with Soe featuring in the film herself, but a wide range of interviews with Love Boat participants—all the way back to a surviving participant of the first generation of Love Boat, and to as recently as participants in Love Boat in 2013, when a public incident caused by students led to a scaling down of the program. [FULL STORY]
Patrick Wang’s epic two-parter ‘A Bread Factory’ has its Taiwan premiere at 2019 Urban Nomad Film Festival and is a compelling story for our times.
The News Lens Date: 2019/05/16 By: Cat Thomas
Credit: In the Family LLC
Back in 2011 a review of Patrick Wang’s first film “In the Family” in the New York Times closed with the tip: This is a career to keep an eye on. Fast forward to late 2018 and his latest offering – which has its Taiwan premiere(s) this weekend at The Urban Nomad Film Festival – was included in over forty Best of 2018 lists with critics from RogerEbert.com, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and Vogue among those championing the film and the New York Times coming full-circle by declaring “A Bread Factory” “a major work by a singular American artist.”
With the project split into two complementary films running at close to two hours apiece, prospective viewers might be concerned that Wang has overdone it, stretching out a story, however the two parts, while both following events in the fictional town of Checkford, are markedly different and the time taken to deeply explore the multiple themes is well spent and brilliantly performed by a cast which includes Tyne Daly (“Spiderman: Homecoming,” “Cagney & Lacy”) as arts educator Dorothea, and James Marsters (“Hawaii Five-O,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) as a celebrity actor, as well as Taiwan media darling Janet Hsieh (former host of Taiwan Fun) and her husband George Young as two upstart China-funded performance artists, May and Ray.
Through the lens of a small New York State town, Wang manages to dive deep into the issues, habits and behaviors that many of us engage in perhaps unwittingly, and raises many questions about the choices we make and the long-term effects on our society with a particular reference to, but not limited to, arts education and social media. [FULL STORY]
A performer (right) watches a film with an exhibitiongoer during the opening of the Taiwan pavilion “3x3x6” at the 58th International Art Exhibition o
The Taiwan pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale opened May 11, showcasing works by local talent Cheang Shu-lea that explore such themes as gender, sexuality and surveillance.
Organized by Taipei Fine Arts Museum, the Taiwan event is running at the 17th-century Palazzo delle Prigioni prison through Nov. 24. It is titled “3x3x6” in reference to a 9-square-meter prison cell monitored by six cameras and comprises multimedia creations by Cheang, the first female artist selected as a solo exhibitor in the nation’s pavilion.
Speaking at the opening of the event, Deputy Minister of Culture Ting Hsiao-ching said that Cheang’s works offer sharp insights into often-neglected issues impacting modern society. Through prompting reflection on timely topics like technological surveillance, the show demonstrates the vibrancy and openness of Taiwan’s art scene, she added.
Created by Cheang in collaboration with Spanish curator Paul B. Preciado, the centerpiece of the pavilion is a multiscreen video installation displaying footage of 10 characters based on people who were imprisoned or ostracized for their gender, race or sexuality. Among the real-life figures used as inspiration for the piece are French philosopher Michel Foucault and writer Marquis de Sade. [FULL STORY]
Taipei, May 4 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Saturday made a surprise appearance at a “May the Fourth be With You” event to celebrate international Star Wars Day, where she took a group photo with fans of the movie franchise in front of the Taipei 101 building.
Attendees had been told to expect a surprise guest earlier and Tsai arrived at the event, held on top of the ATT for Fun building in Xinyi District, at about 2 p.m. She also posed for a group photo with fans against the backdrop of Taipei 101, formerly the tallest building in the world.
Holding a lightsaber, the main weapon in the Star Wars universe consisting of a metal hilt and a plasma blade, Tsai and 100-plus fans, dressed up as popular characters from the movies, such as Darth Vader, Chewbacca, and Princess Leia, shouted the most famous slogan from the franchise, “May the force be with you.”
President Tsai stayed at the gathering for about five minutes before wrapping up her surprise appearance. [FULL STORY]