Transformed from the former Air Force Command Headquarters in Taipei, the Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab (C-LAB) officially opened its doors on Aug. 18 with a grand launch and pilot forum titled "From Site to Lab, from Lab to Hub."
To mark the joyous occasion, the Ministry of Culture invited representatives of local and global cultural and arts communities to witness the experimental spirit of this venue and its six-year construction-and-expansion program dedicated to developing C-LAB into an innovative cultural institution conducive to creation and experimentation.
Among the esteemed guests were Hung Hung (鴻鴻), Lim Giong (林強), Chiang Po-shin (蔣伯欣), Hsu Su-chu (許素朱), and Liou Shuenn-ren (劉舜仁) of the C-LAB Advisory Committee; Sun-gyu Bang, former president of the Gwangju-based Asia Culture Center; Claire-Marie Foulquier-Gazagnes, policy manager at Google Arts & Culture; Agung Firmanto Budiharto, co-founder of Indonesian cultural activist group LIFEPATCH; Dr. Richard C. Helfer, chairman of Living Arts International Taiwan Office; and Phloeun Prim, executive director of Cambodian Living Arts.
Minister of Culture Cheng Li-chiun pointed out that most cultural facilities in Taiwan were built before their management team and users arrived and therefore suffer from "gaps" between the conceptual construct and practical usage of such facilities. "C-LAB is unique in its openness to the public and in its experimental approach. It attempts to take people and operational demands as the starting point during the renovation process to become more suited to the needs of its users," she explained.
"This content-driven method of constructing facilities will enrich the ecosystem of innovation. We expect this venue to be an experimental space that expands public participation in cultural activities," Cheng added, noting that C-LAB will provide users with plentiful connections and resources, especially linkage to international arts and cultural networks across various disciplines.
The Aug. 18 grand launch marks the start of C-LAB's six-year program. Taiwan Living Arts Foundation (臺灣生活美學基金會), the management team which took over the site earlier this year, will focus on five areas ― contemporary art, sound and images, digital humanities, social innovation, and a "remembrance project" preserving the collective memories of Taiwan ― to bring in talent and resources to spur new ideas.
C-LAB is also working with 13 creative teams and three residency teams, with the latter dedicated to managing projects such as "Experimental Architecture Project," "Arts and Technology: Creative Innovation and Counseling Project," and "Digital Humanities and Networking Platform."
C-LAB has also organized four international lectures, seven workshops, and six community events featuring architects and scholars from Australia, France, Malaysia, the United States, and the United Kingdom. These events attracted enthusiastic participation of students, artists and the general public concerned with urban landscapes, artistic creation, and the collaborative economy model.
Two new forums titled "Toward the Future of Cultural Institutions" and "Beyond the Boundaries of Digital Humanities" also took place following the Aug. 18 grand launch. They were moderated by Lin Ping (林平), director of Taipei Fine Arts Museum, and Audrey Tang (唐鳳), digital minister of the Executive Yuan, and joined by speakers including Lai Hsiang-ling (賴香伶), director of C-Lab; Chang Tieh-chih (張鐵志), deputy secretary-general of the General Association of Chinese Culture; and Hou June-hao (侯君昊), director of the Graduate Institute of Architecture at National Chiao Tung University.
In the second half of this year, C-LAB will present "Re-Base: When Experiments Become Attitude," an exhibition with famous artists; "2018 C-LAB Summer Festival — Play Arts" for students, families, and senior citizens to play together; and public participation events hosted by the Creators Residence Program.
C-LAB welcomes all those who are interested to come by and set their imagination free. Follow C-LAB on Facebook or log onto https://clab.org.tw for updates on the latest exhibitions, workshops, and forums.