Solace in Taiwanese Ritualistic Lift Me Up at Prague Quadrennial 2019
National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying) partners with Prague Quadrennial 2019, also known as PQ2019, in Emergence Exhibition, bringing a taste of Taiwanese ritual in the artist-led project, Lift Me Up June 7-11 at the Industrial Palace in Prague.
The Prague Quadrennial is the most anticipated event in performance design, education and theater architecture held every four years in Prague. The theater world congregates on this occasion to exchange views, explore recent and future trends.
During the ten-day festival, more than 600 events take place in and around Prague. This year, the Emergence exhibition is a Creative Europe project and new initiative of PQ2019, bringing together eight partners across Europe and Asia, with Weiwuying as sole Asian partner.
Lift Me Up resonates the Emergence theme “Living Heritage and Reframing Memory” with a root in Taiwanese rituals and the unique Mazu pilgrimage, coupled with a phone application designed to fortune-telling by the pilgrimage route.
Created by seven artists from Weiwuying's laboratory project, EUREKA! 2018, Lift Me Up takes inspiration in the religious annual pilgrimage of the widely popular Mazu, Goddess of the Sea, in which thousands of people follow every year. The project creates a participatory experience for the international audience where the mysterious routes in which the sedan chair traveled reflects unique Chinese characters that foresaw the futures of the participants. Audience outpoured with positive feedback, stating that the experience brought inner peace to current anxieties.
Gwen Chang, Head of International Partnerships at Weiwuying, said, “EUREKA! project was to support artists challenging the unknown and opportunities for international exchange. The carrying of the sedan chair is common ritual in Taiwan, while in PQ recreated by our artists in vibrant colors, the participatory exhibit drew wide curiosity and those who experienced it found it comforting, channeling positive energy. The fact that this work truly reflects compassion among individuals and creates therapeutic process of interpersonal communications are reasons why it drew such attention.”
The artists processed current happenings in politics and religious issues, and attempted to explore the structural relationship between the individual, the collective and the society. The artists created the bamboo sedan chair and embedded a GPS tracking program which senses the journey of the ritualistic sedan chair movement. The journey is further interpreted to Chinese characters printed to tell the fortune of the participant, signifying the ‘message from higher deities’. The empty sedan chair and its bearers seemingly instructed by higher powers further instigates “where is ‘god’?”
Taiwan Artists: (alphabetically)
Kang-Hua CHANG, Ding-Yun HUANG, Chien-Han HUNG, Hai-Ting LIAO, Kai-Yu LIN, Chia-Reng TSAI , Yen-Fang YU
Arts & Theatre Institute / Prague Quadrennial (Czech Republic), The Victoria & Albert Museum (United Kingdom), IZOLYATSIA (Ukraine), Institut Teatralny (Poland), Cyprus Theatre Organisation/THOC (Cyprus), Norwegian Theatre Academy/Østfold University College (Norway), New Theatre Institute of Latvia (Latvia), and National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Taiwan)