A tattered historical construction. Reading and re-encoding are the main progressions of Teng Chao-Ming’s creative project. A reading of the phenomenal enthusiasm among Asian nations to host the Olympics is converted into a historically layered archeological diagram, becoming an archeological diagram that connects shared East Asian experiences and values. The installation of these images and diagrams, however, enable us to move beyond the seemingly irresistible political status quo and development to silently connect sentiments from our individual lives to the temporal structures and historical experiences that have been intentionally concealed by politics. The visibility of the Olympics seems to speak to the life condition of the individual in Asia. What cannot be avoided is the “diagram” of a world structure that forcibly intrudes into the organization of individual lives.
The piece I’m contributing to Discordant Harmony at Art Sonje Centre is a sketch in a form of posters for a story I’m preparing for the next edition of the show. This story, Taipei Olympics 2024 (working title), is about a person who has devoted himself to over ten years of research, inspired by the imagination that, one day, Taipei will be the host of the Olympic games. Within the confines of his own room, his serious hobby has somehow turned into a full time job, and he has been almost entirely absorbed into the idea of holding an Olympics that reflect what he thinks to be the true meaning of the games: that harmony and progress can co-exist, that competition conducted with sportsmanship glorifies the human spirit and that a hand-in-hand, borderless love is possible. In my story, he is invited to talk about his idea.
These four prints, taking the forms of city branding and advertising posters, are designed with conflicting ideas and incomplete messages. How do we get ready to play the game of the Olympic Games? Embrace the conflicts! Surf the incompleteness!
Teng Chao-Ming’s works often employ personal and new readings and the transformation of existing texts and conditions for the purpose of uncovering hidden forces, emotions and structures. In the previous edition of the exhibition at Art Sonje Center, Seoul, he produced fictional posters announcing Taipei to be the host city of the Olympics in 2024. The posters contain nothing “Taiwanese”, but are instead images from archives of previous summer Olympics hosted by Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing, addressing the shared histories and mentali- ties of these countries. Here Teng turns his focus on Tokyo, the only city in Asia that will be for a second time the host to the Olympics (in 2020). The basis of the piece is a panoramic documentation of the construction site of the New National Stadium. The design by the architect Zaha Hadid was scrapped by the Japanese government in July of this year, leaving the future of the site unclear. This temporary hole in the heart of the city is a result of the interactions and competition among many conflicting forces such as institutions, ideologies and desires stretch- ing from World War II up to the present. The city’s failure to fill the hole with a contemporary architectural luxury gives us a fleeting glimpse of the city’s true colors (the site is now completely blocked for pedestrians by tall fences). It is an instant in suspension before further development and exploitation, an fitting moment for reflecting and envisioning the future of country land and its people.
Teng Chao-Ming currently lives and works in Taipei. He graduated from the Media Arts and Sciences programme at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, relocated to New York afterwards, then moved to Taipei in 2012. Recent shows include Queens International, Queens Museum Biennial, New York (2012);Modern Monsters: Death and Life of Fiction, Taipei Biennial, Taipei (2012); little water, Dojima Biennial, Osaka (2013); Romance of NG, TKG+ Gallery, Taipei (2013); Altering Nativism: Sound Cultures in Post-War Taiwan, MoTUE, Taipei (2014); Therefore, X=X. Project Fulfill Art Space (solo), Taipei (2014); and Post-movements: Nights of Café Müller, KdMoFA, Taipei (2014); These Stories Began Before We Arrived, TIBE, Taipei (Feb, 2015); a commissioned work for GLUCK 50, Milan (2015).