“Boai” refers to a physical space, an old market being “displaced” due to the hollowing-out of business. Meanwhile, it serves as a shared metaphor for many peripheral areas marked by belatedness. These areas are not only fully inhabited by people having lost the sense of time, but they also imply all sorts of diseases existing in a modern society: dementia, bipolar disorder, depression, Parkinson’s disease, self-abasement, anti-social behavior, borderline personality disorder (BDP), etc. While many may see them as ruins, it is only by reading them as metaphors that one grasps the very reality of these belated areas. This metaphorical perspective refracts a modern history about life management—a mythology of economic transformation.
The artist, Kao Jun-Honn, was nurtured by Boai Market where his mother earned a living. It was in this same place that she ended her career, leading to Kao eventually leaving the market. They witnessed how the influx of imported Chinese goods in the 1990s struck hard, driving people into a state of collective mental deficiency. Some became sellers of trashy products, others credit card slaves or even Parkinson’s disease patients. From a metaphorical perspective, Kao’s work Boai associates social scenes in factories, mines, and prisons, uncovering what Friedrich von Hayek cynically depicts in his book The Road to Serfdom—a metaphorical hub for disease resulting from serfdom in modern society.
Using video-recording and on-site projection Kao will lead participants on a walking, listening, film-watching exploration of peripheral areas in the vicinity of Taipei, including the Boai Market, the Taiwan Motor Transport Machinery Part Plant, the Haishan Coal Mine and the Ankang Prison, places whose existence the city barely remembers.