I found this rusty doorway around the back of an old red brick home somewhere around Zhongshan Station 中山站. Despite being in the middle of Taipei 台北 it is not an area I am familiar with but I am doing my best to remedy this oversight. When I pass through I do my best to wander down new roads and explore alleyways I don’t recognize. Sometimes I capture an intriguing scene like the one you see here. This is a mass-produced door I have many times before—but the exact pattern of decay is unique.
Words are meaningless and forgettable.
The Taipei Biennial 2014 was held at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum 臺北市立美術館 in Zhōngshān District 中山區 from September into the early part of the new year. I introduced the exhibition here on my blog and posted a brief follow-up here but haven’t gotten around to compiling this small gallery of photos until now. Better late than never, right? Much like the Xu Bing retrospective it was an inspiring experience so I’d like a record of it here on my blog even if it seems kind of pointless to post long after the fact.
I am no art critic but I certainly appreciate thought-provoking art when I see it. Since I haven’t any expertise in this area I’m going to let the photos speak for themselves, however incomprehensible that might be. If you find your curiosity piqued I suggest perusing the official guide book (PDF), this interview, or this review (with more photos) to get a sense of what it’s all about. What follows are a bunch of photos from both my regular camera as well as my cruddy old smartphone that capture something I found interesting as well as links to more information where available.
Yesterday’s impromptu ride around the riverside bikeway network delivered me to the palatial Grand Hotel 圓山大飯店 (pinyin: Yuánshān Dàfàndiàn), a famous landmark in Taipei 台北. Located on a hilltop overlooking a bend of the Keelung River 基隆河 in Zhōngshān District 中山區, it was established in 1952 at the behest of generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek 蔣中正 to provide the ruling elite with a luxurious place to host and entertain foreign dignitaries. The distinctive building seen in these photos was completed in 1973 and was the tallest building in the Free Area of the Republic of China until 1981.
Yesterday I finally got around to purchasing a new phone, a Galaxy S6. Ordinarily I would not even think of splurging on shiny new gadgets, these being lean times and all, but with the passage of my birthday and Christmas my family sent over a chunk of change for something big and practical. I knew that meant a phone given that my existing device, an antiquated Galaxy Note 1 purchased in 2012 and still teeming with Canadian telecom bloatware, is a dysfunctional, inoperative mess most of the time. I have to give my old device some credit—it survived years of heavy use and more than one attempted drowning—but I always chafed at the lousy quality of its camera, particularly since I have become something of an Instagram junkie. If you have been reading this blog in depth for any amount of time you have no doubt seen me whinge about my “cruddy” smartphone camera. All of that will soon be a thing of the past.
This is another image I captured during my first visit to Taipei 台北 in the early springtime of 2013. Unless I am mistaken this is a picture of the final stages of the construction of the Songshan Line 松山線 of the Taipei MRT somewhere near Nanjing Fuxing Station 南京復興. The aboveground Wenhu Line 文湖線 is visible in the distance.
This photograph is among the first dozen or so that I captured after setting foot in Taiwan 台灣 for the first time in March 2013. Here you can see a typical concrete and tile apartment block in central Taipei 台北, one of the great vertical cities of East Asia. I previously wrote a little more about my initial impressions so I won’t say more than that.