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Taiwan cultural center in Paris debuts at Nuit Blanche

06/04/2024 10:20 PM
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The Mazu pilgrimage, one of Taiwan's traditional religious scenes, is being projected on the wall of the Centre Culturel de Taïwan à Paris as part of Nuit Blanche, an annual overnight art event that took place in Paris starting Saturday evening. CNA photo June 1, 2024
The Mazu pilgrimage, one of Taiwan's traditional religious scenes, is being projected on the wall of the Centre Culturel de Taïwan à Paris as part of Nuit Blanche, an annual overnight art event that took place in Paris starting Saturday evening. CNA photo June 1, 2024

Paris, June 4 (CNA) The Centre Culturel de Taïwan à Paris participated in Nuit Blanche, an annual overnight art event, for the first time Saturday evening as the city seeks to drum up excitement for the upcoming Olympic Games, drawing thousands of visitors to its office.

This is the Taiwan office's first-ever participation in the art jamboree organized by the Council of Paris since its establishment in 1994, said Hu Ching-fang (胡晴舫), director of the office.

"We have been serving Taiwanese overseas in this historical building, so we thought we should celebrate our 30th anniversary at an artful night gathering. We submitted our application for Nuit Blanche and within a month received the Council of Paris' response inviting us to take part," Hu told CNA.

The office invited designer Liu Keng-ming (劉耕名), who won the 2024 Presidential Innovation Award in April, and his team Bito to take charge of the festival planning starting in 2023.

The show centered on the theme "Tsiò," which generally refers to ceremonies held for deities to pray for people's safety and ward off disasters and is one of the most common activities held at domestic temples.

"We wanted to stage a digital temple fair in Paris. As we deconstruct the tradition, [we want] to let everyone come in and feel the tranquil energy inside and bring blessings to the world," said Liu, winner of the highest domestic accolade for design in Taiwan.

Audience faces the main visual wall to appreciate the artwork, with fog machines enveloping the entire venue in mist at Nuit Blanche, an annual overnight art event that began on Saturday evening in Paris. CNA photo June 1, 2024
Audience faces the main visual wall to appreciate the artwork, with fog machines enveloping the entire venue in mist at Nuit Blanche, an annual overnight art event that began on Saturday evening in Paris. CNA photo June 1, 2024
A visitor takes a selfie in front of a wall projecting traditional Taiwanese temple events at Nuit Blanche, an annual overnight art event that began on Saturday evening in Paris. CNA photo June 1, 2024
A visitor takes a selfie in front of a wall projecting traditional Taiwanese temple events at Nuit Blanche, an annual overnight art event that began on Saturday evening in Paris. CNA photo June 1, 2024

To achieve that goal, Liu and his team projected a five-minute video, showcasing a variety of Taiwan's traditional religious icons -- such as censers, moon blocks and and beehive fireworks onto the walls of the office and Bureau de Représentation de Taipei en France.

Ceremonies like the Mazu pilgrimage and the burning of King Boat were also displayed.

"Taiwan is an island full of deities. The temples on the island outnumber the total of all four major convenience stores," Liu said, describing praying and worshipping as "part of the daily life of Taiwanese people."

The site was officially selected as one of the 10 recommended spots and drew nearly 10,000 visitors by 3 a.m. on June 2, according to a press statement by the Ministry of Culture Monday.

Among them was a French man identified as Alex, who visited Taiwan 20 years ago and was able to differentiate between Taiwan and China. He told CNA the show was full of contemporary art aesthetics without compromising the country's unique elements, which made him feel "a tinge of nostalgia."

Also at the site were Liu Chun-hui (劉君慧) and Chen Wei-ting (陳薇婷), who said they were surprised by the show's punk and rock 'n' roll music style when they expected to hear the sounds of gongs and drums after seeing the Tsiò theme.

Speaking about the success of the event, Hu said the key is to "show them who you are."

"We just have to be ourselves. Actually, the French public is very interested in Taiwan's culture because the more they feel you are different from them, the more they want to know you."

Inaugurated in 2002, Nuit Blanche was part of the Cultural Olympiad series of activities this year given the Paris Olympics around the corner.

This was the second time it was held in the summer, according to the Bureau de Représentation de Taipei en France.

(By Lee Jo-yun and Chao Yen-hsiang)

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