Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai arrived in Geneva on a ten-day trip to Europe on June 6. On the first leg of the trip, the Minister visited the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and signed an agreement with the Switzerland-based institute that will enable Taiwanese artists to join a one-month research-and-residency program called Accelerate@CERN.
Accelerate@CERN was established in 2013 and is tailored to attract artists who have never spent time in a science laboratory. CERN works with two countries per year to select two artists who will meld art and science in different domains. In its first year, the two participating foreign institutions were Swiss art council Pro Helvetica and the Athens-based Onassis Cultural Centre. The June 6 agreement marks Taiwan as the third country and the first non-European nation to enter the Accelerate@CERN program.
The Ministry will hold an open call to select two Taiwanese artists for the 2015 CERN residency; application details will be made available in September. The Ministry will also form a review panel with CERN and the selected artists will be subsidized to travel to Switzerland and meet with CERN scientists and local artists. The Minister, who was immediately intrigued when she first heard of the Accelerate@CERN program, expressed her happiness upon gaining a new opportunity for Taiwanese artists.
CERN is the world’s biggest particle physics laboratory and the birthplace of the World Wide Web. From fundamental research on the most miniscule particles in the universe to its scientific applications, CERN’s research and inventions have continued to change contemporary society. CERN Director-General Dr. Rolf-Dieter Heuer noted that many Taiwanese scientists have also contributed to the field.
Scientific technology and humanities have always been considered two separate fields, but the two actually overlap in several fundamental ways, Minister Lung said at the signing ceremony. That is, they may appear practically “useless,” she added. However, science pioneers in inventing tools that eventually fulfill real needs; for example, the World Wide Web and PET (positron emission tomography) were both invented by CERN’s scientists, said the Minister. Likewise, art and humanities, which may appear impractical, can inspire revolutions and revive a nation, added the Minister.
Taiwan is a “role model” in the information technology field, while Taiwanese artists are also featured prominently in international techno art exhibitions, noted Lung. She said she believes Taiwanese artists will present brand-new works after “colliding” with CERN.
After the ceremony, the Minister was given a tour to the Large Hadron Collider, a particle accelerator located 100 meters underground. She also visited Nobel laureate Dr. Samuel C. C. Ting’s lab to observe the environment where Taiwan’s future resident artists will work in.
CERN, a major research institute comprising the world’s top physicists, will surely widen the horizon of Taiwanese artists, concluded the Minister.