Just Out Of Reach

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Shelving on the streets: the remains of a home demolished during a road widening project in Taoyuan.

On my way to Fugang Old Street 富岡老街 in I noticed something peculiar jutting out of a building high above the street. A closer look revealed this to be a vintage teal shelving unit still attached to the wall, a reminder that someone’s home once stood here. No doubt the building that formerly occupied this space had been demolished as part of a road widening project—proof of which seemed evident in the presence of a sidewalk below my feet, an unusual sight for a small town in rural . Thanks to the magic of Google Street View’s history feature I was able to confirm this hunch and even identify the name of the shop out front, Jiāfāng Restaurant 嘉芳飲食店, which was still there as recently as 2012. These figments of the past, much like the shelf on the wall, remain just out of reach.

Illumination of an Ordinary Urban Space

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Illumination of an ordinary urban space.

I snapped this photo in haste while wandering around a few hours ago. It is, in some sense, an utterly ordinary scene: a street light illuminating an emptiness in the otherwise cluttered urban landscape of downtown . There is no story to this photograph, only a feeling to convey—a cinematic quality, a silent scream in the concrete matrix.

Reflections of a Radial Sky

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The distinctive rooftop of Tianwaitian Theater reflected in rainwater.

Last year I shared a photo from outside Tiānwàitiān Theater 天外天劇場, alluding to the possibility of gaining entrance at some future date. I have since been inside and will be posting a full exploration sooner or later. In the meantime, here’s a quick greyscale preview of the distinctive radial rooftop reflected in rainwater.

A Window Inside Shenji New Village 審計新村

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Starry glass windows in an old military community in West Taichung.

Now that I know how to find and identify military dependents’ villages in I tend to stop off and check out any new ones I see in my travels. Last week while roaming around I made a quick visit to Shěnjì New Village 審計新村, an unusual military community not far from where I found that lilac mailbox I recently shared. Rather than the usual bungalows this village consists of almost American-style homes, most of them still in surprisingly good condition. This set of vintage windows on the upper levels caught my eye—and for this reason I’ll leave a small note here along with links to Chinese language blogs with more information here, here, and here.

The Rhythm of Infinite Life

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Salvaged steel cables and the rhythm of infinite life.

The elevators leading up to the Taipei 101 observatory are the world’s fastest, propelling passengers at more than 60 km/h from the 5th to the 89th floor. The precision-engineered steel cables used to hoist those high-speed lifts are subject to incredible strain and, as a result, are regularly decommissioned. Rather than sell them for scrap, these discarded cables were given to Taiwanese artist Kāng Mùxiáng 康木祥, who began shaping them into a series of provocative and unconventional sculptures.

The first of these works of public art is Infinite Life, “a steel embryo reborn from the towering structure from which it came”, to quote the official Taipei 101 web site. The artist notes that the cables “carried 6.6 million visitors during their six years of operation, so there seemed to be millions of lives wound up in them…”

Looking back in Sanchong

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Beneath the fluorescent glare in a crooked Sanchong alleyway.

I lazily captured this in a small laneway somewhere in the bowels of on the first day of 2016. It isn’t entirely in focus but I like it anyway.

Blind Stone Lion

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A blindfolded stone lion at a newly renovated temple in Puli.

The main Chénghuáng Temple 城隍廟 (City God) in has been undergoing a massive reconstruction project this year. The work is nearing completion and all of the gods have been gathered on the ground floor behind towering stone columns still wrapped in plastic from the factory. Immediately outside the temple stone guardian lions have been installed, their eyes blindfolded with red cloth. They will be unwrapped at during a ritual ceremony known as kāiguāng 開光, literally “open to light”, and until then are wèikāiguāng 未開光, or not open to light.

A Light In The Darkness

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Lighting up the darkness one night in Taipei.

I captured this incandescent light bulb at Pica Pica Cafe 喜鵲咖啡 in the other night for no other reason than it reminded me of the album artwork for Download’s III. This is really pushing the limits of what my cruddy smartphone camera is capable of. I’d love to get better gear for casual snapshots like this but it’s out of the question at the moment. These are lean times.