Tainan Community University is a publicly-funded school that focuses on nurturing socially-engaged practice, by its students and with local communities. In this space, caring for others is considered second nature, and therefore caring for the environment follows. Following this, Tainan Community University Environmental Action Group was established in order to conserve its local mountains, rivers, ancient forests and land, protect against industrial waste and rural development, and to promote renewable energy, biodiversity and environmental education.
The founder of this group, researcher Jui-Kuang Chao, teaches students to investigate the environment across Taiwan using video and audio recordings, sample collection and analysis which not only collect accurate data, but also sensitively reveal the beautiful things that are gradually disappearing from our lives. Informed by these observations, the groups takes productive action: as campaigning for the protection of Longqi’s industrial heritage and natural landscapes, against the introduction of landfill sites, and having initiated monthly beach waste monitoring action in Tainan since 2005.
Exhibited at Taipei Biennial is Taiwan Zhi Zui which directly translates to ‘Taiwan Irresponsible’, and in Chinese is also a synonym for ‘Taiwan Extreme’ and ‘Taiwan Crime’. Focal to this installation is a map which delineates the vast number of soil pollution cases observed over the past few years in Taiwan, and describes the concerns of those individuals who have conducted the surveys; included are severe examples which have been dismissed by local government, despite clear evidence.
Accompanying this map are a series of glass jars, filled with polluted earth. Though these vessels contain a small amount of a seemingly insignificant substance, in fact they connote an enormous number of stories involving environmental and health issues, ecosystems disrupted and lost, and personal life stories—both negative, and of course positive, for those who gain through pollutant industries. This project by Chao and Tainan Community University Environmental Action Group stands as an intention to inspire more people to take direct environmental action, to come together and combine their differing skills to mirror the cross-disciplinary methodology generated with and by these students.
Jui-Kuang Chao, born 1968 in Taiwan, lives and works in Tainan.
Tainan Community University, established in 2001.
My Journey of Safeguarding Life—From Eco Photographer to Coroner of the Land
Speaker: Huann-Jang Hwang
About the Foods at Jui-Kuang Chao's Taiwanese Shop
Speaker: Jui-Kuang Chao
Venue: Ecolab Basement