Taipei, Feb. 15 (CNA) The inaugural Matsu Biennial, featuring 39 artworks and eight projects centered around the theme of “Island Brew” (島嶼釀), kicked off Feb. 12 and will run until April 10.
The biennial has been curated in part around Matsu’s transition from a military administration, and a number of the projects are aptly located in former army facilities.
The projects on five of Matsu’s islands will also explore how to transform these sites into sustainable public spaces, according to the festival.
One such project is “Translating and Regenerating the Military Heritage in Matsu,” which the biennial’s organizers said seeks to redesign military strongholds that are steadily falling into disuse or oblivion and integrate them into contemporary life of Matsu.
Another, “Underground Matters” — part of which is housed in Nangan Stronghold No. 77 — seeks to capture the “warzone landscape” of the extensive military tunnels to explore a “vanished cultural impression of Matsu.”
All of the art installations were created locally among 41 creative teams. Aside from Taiwanese artists, the art-making consortium also includes international members such as Canadian visual artist Liam Morgan and French-born sound artist Yannick Dauby.
With the evolution of space and sustainable reuse at the core of the biennial’s works, organizers have set out to make the festival part of a 10-year mission to document the islands’ transformation.
The biennial will also feature “Returning to the Island”; “Listening the Voices of the Island”; “Ecology and Habitat of Islands”; “The Tower of Winds”; and “Islands in Evolution; Highlights of Contemporary Architecture in Matsu” projects as part of this edition’s theme.
According to the festival, the theme is an invitation to domestic and foreign residents to see Matsu in a new light, using the islands’ seascapes and heritage, to “brew” the island’s artistic identity.
Lienchiang County Magistrate Liu Cheng-ying (劉增應) and Deputy Chairwoman of the General Association of Chinese Culture Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) opened the biennial at a ceremony on Saturday.
The opening ceremony also included tourism and cultural industry guests such as Taiwan’s Deputy Minister of Culture Hsiao Tsung-huang (蕭宗煌), Tourism Bureau Deputy Director-General Lin Hsin-jen (林信任), and Central News Agency President Chang Jui-chang (張瑞昌).
During the opening ceremony, Cheng said the association aimed to help the rest of the country see the cultural richness of the Matsu, such as its Eastern Min dialect that uniquely differs from the Southern Min dialect spoken on Taiwan.
At the ceremony, Liu lauded the county’s recent efforts in cultivating cultural awareness and programs that transformed defunct military locations into public spaces.
Liu also promoted the county’s progress in spotlighting unique cuisine and the residents’ unique way of life to the rest of the nation as a part of Matsu’s 10-year plan to revitalize and transform the county and its governing islands.
(By Wang Pao-er and James Lo)


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