If plants have vision, how would they view the city?
Like animate beings, each plant has an independent life story, and Hou and Tang’s work questions how plants would view the city. Some plants—such as the trees that line residential streets—are invited into urban spaces to fulfil the desires of human inhabitants, contributing to the aesthetics and economies of the city. Others, like weeds, persist in inhospitable environments and are often at war with the communities that consider them a nuisance. Though often unnoticed, plants and their urban ecologies actively utilize, adapt, and alter urban environments.
Plant’s-Eye Views of Taipei is the result of a workshop that took place at the Treasure Hill International Arts Village in Taipei in summer 2018. Under the direction of the artists, and working in collaboration with ecologists and videographers, a group of university students from several countries in the Asia-Pacific region each imagined themselves as a plant species. The students began by examining the plants of the local region to better understand their physiological characteristics and life histories, as well as their adaptive features and ecosystemic behaviours. In viewing themselves as plants, the students were able to see Taipei in a new light as a place co-produced by the city’s urban flora and human communities. Materials from the workshops detailing the exploration by the students are exhibited alongside designs for reinterpreting urban structures in Taipei as envisioned and built from a less anthropocentric perspective.
Workshop co-instructors: Chi-Tung Huang, Harley S. Pan
Workshop participants: Xiaomeng An, Baiyu Chen, Hsin Cheng Chien, Juliana Hom, Chun Sing Hui, Pui Ling Ip, Michelle Lam, Eva Lin, Sam Lin, Sharon Lin, Sammy Sin, I Hsiang Wang, Carmen Yuen, Shi Yue Zhang, Jingyi Zhou
Workshop commentators: Huasun Chang, Chingwen Cheng, Serena Chou, Che. Lin, Zo Lin
Lecture & Panel Discussion
Plant's-Eye Views of Taipei
Speakers: Jeffrey Hou, Dorothy Tang
Venue: Ecolab Basement
Jeffrey Hou, born 1967 in Taiwan, lives and works in Seattle.
Dorothy Tang, born 1981 in the USA, lives and works in Hong Kong and Cambridge, MA.