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Together We Glow: The 2020 Taipei Lantern Festival

Exhibition period:February 8 - February 16, 2020
2020 Taipei International Lantern Festival The 2020 Taipei Lantern Festival will take place in Taipei City between February 8 and 16. This year, there will be two major venues for the event – located at Nangang and Ximending respectively. The two stages connect Taipei’s East and West districts to highlight the theme of this year’s event: “Together We Glow.” Taipei City Government held a press event on January 7 to announce the key visual of the lantern festival this year, as well as the main lanterns for the east and west venues.

In addition to holding the lantern festival at the venue in the west district of the city as it did over the past 3 years, this time the organizers have also added another venue near the Nangang Train Station – a transportation hub where the three railways of TRA, THSR, and MRT come together in the east part of the city. The dual-venue approach symbolizes the close connection between the two areas of Taipei, where the successful implementation of the West District Gateway Project in revitalizing the older part of the city will transfer to the ongoing East District Gateway Project, bringing a new wave of energy to the east side of the city.

Deputy Mayor Tsai Ping-kun remarked: “This year we wish to replicate the successful experience of the Taipei International Lantern Festival over the last three years to Nangang in the east part of town. The implementation of the East District Gateway Project combined with the existing Nangang Software Park, Financial Park, and Nangang Exhibition Center allow us to create a major traffic hub in the east part of the city – in conjunction with the local stop of the Highspeed Rail. Facilities such as a biotech park, Nangang Bottle Cap Factory, Taipei Pop Music Center, and future public housing projects will make Nangang an important center of technology and pop culture of tomorrow. Through the lantern festival event, we hope to introduce international and local tourists to this up-and-coming area. For this year’s Taipei Lantern Festival, the main venue in Nangang will see the participation of many local forces, using the event to connect with the locality and helping to transform the East District.”

Rex Hon of Whitelight Motion, the project’s creative director, shared with the public about the design concept of this year’s Taipei Lantern Festival key visual and its theme of “Together We Glow.” He pointed out that the core spirit of the venues on the east and west sides of the city is to “shine together” and the might of the resulting effort. He transformed “2020” into the connecting force between the east and west parts of the city, where the warm yellow color representing the classical feel of Taipei’s west district contrasts with the cold blue color characterizing the futuristic feel shown by the east district, with the two together lighting up Taipei and the future of its citizens. In addition, to incorporate the Year of the Rat, the light shines from the linked mousehole to connect the residents of the city. The merging of West and East results in WE, hoping to bring everyone together and herald in more glory, light, and strength to Taipei in 2020.

First Time in Nangang! Super Main Lantern Tian Hong Sin with Local Performances
There will be two venues for the 2020 Taipei International Lantern Festival. The dazzling exhibition is designed and crafted by the team under designers Lee Weng-cheng, Lin Shuen-long, architect Wang Shi-fang, and staff members from Ideaplus. The exhibition and stage at the Nangang venue highlights the concept of “wild, fierce, and unrestricted,” with the 9-meter-wide main lantern Tian Hong Sin serving as the site’s major landmark. Lee pointed out that the inspiration of the main lantern comes from the motorcycle – an item representing the day-to-day life of locals. Tian Hong Sin is a transformed motorcycle sprouting wings and standing on two legs. The work symbolizes many of the residents who left their home town to live in urban areas, milling around on the busy streets of Taipei like rodents, all captured by the flashy neon lights and seeking the opportunity to spread their wings and fulfill their dreams.

Tian Hong Sin uses parts which add local flavors – “peacock” light, fluorescent tubes, and multi-color beacon strobe lights often seen outside betel nut stalls. The wing section features construction materials used for building tin metal houses such as transparent wave boards and angle steel. The various billboards and signs in the back creates the image of Taipei’s streets to enhance its overall visual impact. Tian Hong Sin is a first attempt in incorporating the idea of Taiwanese open-air theater with the main lantern, merging the concept of the performance stage with an art work. In addition to the linked, dual-lantern show on the opening night spotlighting the two main lanterns at the respective venues, the stage will also see shows by students from local schools, indy bands, and more on regular days during the exhibition period to demonstrate the vitality of the neighborhood.

Children’s Fun Lantern Hide and Seek Creates a Fantasy World at Ximen
The main lantern decorating the venue at the west part of Taipei is Hide and Seek, which breaks away from the custom of using only a single zodiac animal for the top attraction. This year’s lantern at Ximending incorporates the concepts of fantasy and childhood innocence, transforming the neighborhood into a gigantic fantasy land, reshaping the familiar street landscapes into a world appearing in storybooks. According to designer Lin: “We hope that the spectator is not only a casual observer. By providing a dream-like feel which is far from everyday life, we let onlookers “float” with the gigantic cat and baby mice in the busy streets of Ximending, creating a dialogue for imagination.”

The work spotlights several mice – the zodiac animal for this year – appearing with a gigantic cat. There is enough space for people to walk beneath the main body of the lantern. The 9-meter-high work is one of the tallest lanterns set up in Ximending for the festival. Lin remarked that the transparent cat made from FRP will interact with the baby mice, which float into the air with the help of balloons during light shows scheduled to take place every 30 minutes during the lantern festival period. The designer pointed out that the cat’s white fur is made from large amounts of bristles and optical fiber parts to give the animal a realistic feel. Between 6 PM and 10 PM during the lantern festival period, the main stage near the lantern will see performances by members of FOCA Formosa Circus Art every hour. The actors will work in conjunction with lantern show.

The 2020 Taipei International Lantern Festival will take place at both the east and west venues starting on February 8 and lasting through February 16. The organizers hope that the event will transform visitors from casual observers into active participants who tell their respective stories and experiencing the “real” Taipei by dropping by both venues.

For more information on the 2020 Taipei International Lantern Festival, please visit the official website at:http://2020.lantern.taipei