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Introducing the 2018 Taipei Arts Festival

The first Taipei Arts Festival (TAF) was held in 1998. This year, we are celebrating the festival’s 20th anniversary. Over the past two decades, TAF has brought together outstanding artists from Taiwan and abroad, their phenomenal creativity and themed performances providing the public with deeply artistic experiences.
 
Beginning this year, TAF is being held by the Taipei Performing Arts Center (TPAC) under the authority of the Taipei Culture Foundation. TPAC focuses on sharing the arts, cultivating talent, and using a wide range of innovative concepts. With its many years’ experience organizing arts festivals, TPAC has brought the arts into daily life, enabling them to spread, and deepening interactions among artists from Taiwan and abroad and creating opportunities for cultural communication and exchanges among cities. 
 
Singapore-based Tang Fu Kuen is curator of this year’s TAF. Using the concepts of collaboration and crossing genres and cultures, Tang proposed the theme of “Assembly”. The 20th edition of Taipei Arts Festival (TAF) opens up the artistic frame by inviting Taipei citizens and artists to actively participate and perform the complex relations today between the individual and the masses.
 
This year’s theme ASSEMBLY (translated as 為了~~在一起) asks each of us pause to think and fill in the blank of this brainteaser: “Because of ~~, We are Together’. What makes future co-existence? Taiwan, oft-admired as Asia’s progressive frontier, is the site from which ASSEMBLY seeks to reflexively stage ‘social democracy’ and ‘self-determination’, and probe the notion of ‘co-immunity’.
 
With lectures, workshops, exchanges, and dialogues, as well as theater, music, dance, and multimedia productions, this festival will be a platform on which to gather together the artistic energy of a wide range of different sources. For an unprecedented 10 weeks, TAF will unfold in 3 main frames:

1. THINK BAR
We kick off with this new discursive platform – 12 robust days of critical performances, public talks and network meetings – to unpack the provocations that ASSEMBLY raises by tracking how ‘performance’ operates in recent social movements, global capital flows, cultural migration and youth activism.
 
2. Zhongshan Hall
We ‘takeover’ the historical civic hall where Taiwan’s key political ceremonies were once hosted. Here, over 3 weekends, ordinary folks will claim their theatre of representation. The blind, the queers, noise-makers, jugglers, amateurs and radicals will assemble to rock the house with a different brand of fun and fire. They propose ways to (re)define singular identities, consensus and sovereignty in Taiwanese context.
 
3. International Co-Productions
We present 3 full works signed in trust by Taipei Performing Arts Center (TPAC) with respective partners in Japan, Denmark and Holland. International collaboration and co-production are core principles that drive future TAF editions, under the mandate of TPAC commencing in 2018.

Lastly, we launch our annual Festival Collection which unveils customized creations that capture the distinctive sensuality of Taipei City.  Soak in the reprisal of last year’s sell-out ‘Remote Taipei’ by Rimini Protokoll!
 
In the open yet contested space of ASSEMBLY, I propose renewed conversations about ‘private/public’ and paradoxical acts of being ‘alone/together’. The 20th anniversary of TAF shall summon Taiwan’s anima – as the society braces up for a future as uncertain as it is hopeful.

Introducing the 2018 Taipei Arts Festival