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Different Expressions of Park Spaces
—C-LAB’s Wonderland Outdoor Project

Rolling Plan by FENG Cheng-Tsung. Photo by LU Guo-Wei

As C-LAB’s park area has become more accessible, a series of installations of the Wonderland Outdoor Project have appeared to welcome the public. In addition to Brick Circle, the work of Experimental Architecture Project introduced in the April/May issue of CLABO+ Bimonthly, the works of Environmental Color Design, Landscape Installation, and Light Art projects also embellish C-LAB’s outdoor spaces.

The Mandarin title for this Outdoor Project connotes communication, imagination and fields, as the title “Wonderland” implies the expectations for these spaces to be entertainment venues for creators, and also for city residents in light of their accessibility. a Nonetheless, considering the edges and corners, the unfriendly design of the former military base, how can these spaces be transformed into places for recreation and play? Maurice CHEN, who oversees the project, talked about his impressions of the outdoor spaces before the removal of the outer walls, “C-LAB’s outdoor spaces had no expression. They were cold. People would enter, but they could only participate in exhibitions, performances, and screenings inside a few buildings. That was really a pity.” Hence, through the adornment of colors, interactive installations, and street furniture of the project, the expressions of the park spaces have been broadened; even at night, the addition of Light Art Project also sparkles up the silent area. This once solemn park has now been enriched with abundant facial appearances, encouraging people to come close, to dance, and to play.

Environmental Color Design Project: Carpet by City Yeast

Although located in a busy city center, people naturally slow their pace and relax in C-LAB’s park spaces, especially in the grassy areas among the buildings. Lying on the grass in the middle of a city while looking up at the sky brings a different perspective from the everyday.

This was the starting point for City Yeast’ to create as the street furniture Carpet in C-LAB. During the Music Oasis or other events on the weekends, people could recline on these works and listen to music, enjoying a leisurely afternoon. Or, they could freely explore other using possibilities of Carpet, interacting with it in various ways. The production team took into consideration the brick red, white, and grey color scheme of C-LAB, choosing contrasting colors of warm yellow and sky blue for Carpet. Set on verdant lawn, these works make the entire space seem lighter, like a flying carpet ready to ride the wind, which also responds to the above-mentioned urge to look up at the sky while corresponding to C-LAB’s historical background as the Air Force Command Headquarters, preserving the imagination and image of flight.

Carpet by City Yeast. Photo by LU Guo-Way

Landscape Installation Project: Rolling Plan by FENG Cheng-Tsung

How can we invite people to enter the park and encourage them to stay longer? Perhaps, creating something “interesting” is the key. After C-LAB’s metamorphosis into an accessible aesthetic park, playground equipment is now essential for the spaces. Artist FENG Cheng-Tsung took on this mission.

Rolling Plan by FENG Cheng-Tsung. Photo by LU Guo-Wei

Based on traditional sepak takraw (rattan balls) and temari (embroidered balls) production methods, FENG and the public worked together to develop large movable props. After producing the frames, the production team collected old clothes from residents living near C-LAB to create strips of red, yellow, blue, green, and purple cloth, following the tradition of using old kimonos to create temari while bearing the spirit of reuse. During the workshop, participants made use of self-produced equipment to weave these strips of cloth onto spheres measuring two meters in diameter. Large and colorful, they are conspicuous art installations on the east lawn, welcoming people of all ages to roll and play with. When these spheres move beyond the boundaries of the lawn, they attract attention in front of Art Space IV, amuse people in front of Art Space II, or delight passersby at the Renai Road entrance, as if C-LAB itself were caught up in their movement.

Light Art Project: Divergence by HSU Hsun-Hsiang

Nighttime visitors to the Renai Road side of C-LAB will see blue and purple laser light emerging from atop the bricks of Brick Circle to pierce the sky. Artist HSU Hsun-Hsiang’s work Divergence is an extension of Brick Circle. Being unobstructed, the rays of light do not strike the surrounding trees, catching the eye of passersby and stimulating their curiosity.

The beams of light rushing toward the sky appear sharp and cold, signifying the walls that once divided the interior and exterior, while being void and intangible in the meantime—the weather will decide their forms of existence. When there are low-lying clouds and the rays penetrate the medium of higher density, Divergence appears like a mass, resembling a spaceship from a distance.  When the air is clear, though, the laser lines are extremely sharp up close but less so from a distance. In the words of HSU, this is a “static light sculpture,” which changes depending on the angle of view, distance, and current weather conditions, bringing surprises to viewers. Moreover, these blue and purple rays are actually formed from three colors: red, blue, and green, which leads to different colors showed when there is a continuous drizzle because of the effects of refraction.

Divergence by HSU Hsun-Hsiang. Photo by One Work International Limit Corporation

Light Art Project: Flowingscape by HSU Hsun-Hsiang

While Divergence passively waits to be discovered, the unpredictable light emissions of Flowingscape are meant to attract attention among the vegetation near the Renai Road sentry post.

Flowingscape by HSU Hsun-Hsiang. Photo © C-LAB

To complement the many types of plants that make up the landscape, Flowingscape disperses light from among them. The speed, direction and intensity are decided by the real-time wind speed and direction data. As something we usually only experience physically, the unseen wind is transformed into visible light via technology and data of Flowingscape, responding to visitors’ physical experience of the environment. As the wind is sometimes brisk and sometimes sluggish, this work creates a close relationship with sensory perception. In addition to adopting lightweight media and materials, it was designed to be no taller than the vegetation. HSU Hsun-Hsiang expects that as the plants grow, they will eventually cover this work. During the day, visitors will have difficulty seeing it, creating an amazement of the eye after dark.

Light Art Project: High Voltage by HSIEH Yu-Cheng and WANG Chung-Yuan

During the Japanese occupation era, this was the site of an industrial research institute. Following World War II, it was the Air Force Command Headquarters. Today, C-LAB preserves vestiges of this site’s history. If looking at an aerial view of Taipei’s center, it is possible to see the urbanization that has taken place over time. Within the density of urban structures, C-LAB appears like a blank space of significant size. As such, C-LAB’s existence seems out of place, as if it does not belong to the here and now.

High Voltage attempts to embody this mismatch. When a bolt of lightning suddenly appears, it arouses ancient and primitive experiences of light, even during this era when we are used to the convenient access to electricity and light. Within this highly developed urban area, sudden flashes of light bring people back to a time before the development of technology. When the lightning bolt disappears, everything goes back to normal. Comprised of reflective steel panels and LED lights, this work blends into the surroundings and is not easy to see when its lights are off; on the other hand, the sense of alienation in a familiar setting along with the fissure for all-new thinking are created when the lights come in.

High Voltage by HSIEH Yu-Cheng and WANG Chung-Yuan. Photo © C-LAB
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